The violent demonstrations that have rocked Venezuela for weeks are threatening to wipe out what little democracy is left here after 15 years of systematic erosion by the state. The government of Nicolás Maduro has responded with massive military force, raiding offices and houses without judicial orders, imprisoning civilians in military compounds and applauding the killing of protesters by paramilitary groups.
Yet the riots do not portend a Venezuelan Spring. For the government they are a welcome deflection of public attention from a faltering economy and rising crime. They may even invigorate this flaccid dictatorship.
The turmoil started on Feb. 4, after the sexual assault of a student ignited a protest on a university campus near the Colombian border.… Seguir leyendo »