Venezuela's Military: Both a Stabilizing and Destabilizing Force

Tens of thousands of anti-government demonstrators flooded Venezuela’s capital Caracas yesterday to protest President Nicolás Maduro after three years of recession, extreme inflation, and a severe lack of basic goods. The protestors are asking for a recall referendum to be held this year, when an opposition politician has a chance of winning. If the referendum is held after January 10, 2017 and Maduro is removed from office, then his Vice President – a member of the United Socialist Party like Maduro – will take over, ensuring the Socialists retain power.

Government supporters also took to the streets yesterday in a series of countering protests. Extra police and troops were stationed around the city, in case violence broke out. Notably, the military did not suppress the demonstrations.

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