Protest in Caracas against the government of President Nicolas Maduro Juan Barreto/Getty Images

Death or Democracy in Venezuela

Venezuela's 18-year-old regime – established by Hugo Chávez, and now led by President Nicolás Maduro – would rather hold an entire country hostage than lose power and potentially have to answer for crimes against humanity in the International Criminal Court. But how long can it hold on?


CARACAS – Venezuela’s democratic institutions are in ruins, its coffers are empty, and its citizens are searching for food in garbage dumps. Its people are dying from starvation, from preventable and curable diseases (at much higher rates than the Latin American average), and from violence – including, in some cases, gunshot wounds inflicted by their own government.

More than three quarters of Venezuela’s 31 million people want to free themselves from the stranglehold of their rulers, a small group of no more than 150 mafia-like figures (mostly military) who have hijacked the country’s democracy, robbed it blind, and created a devastating humanitarian crisis. The 18-year-old regime – established by Hugo Chávez, and now led by President Nicolás Maduro – would rather hold an entire country hostage than lose power and potentially have to answer for crimes against humanity in the International Criminal Court. But how long can it hold on?

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