In These Times: “Ending the Pain in Venezuela”

Opponents of the Maduro government battle police in Caracas on March 5. (Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images.)

Opponents of the Maduro government battle police in Caracas on March 5. (Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images.)

Venezuela duele. On Facebook and Twitter, Instagram and Zello and many other apps, again and again: Venezuela duele. The phrase encompasses a world of hurt: Venezuela pains me, Venezuela is in pain. It goes both ways.

Beginning in mid-February, the country was wracked by confrontations between the Chavista government and the opposition. Young people overturned cars, barricaded streets and destroyed public property in frustration. President Nicolás Maduro responded by sending in troops, who teargassed and beat demonstrators. More than a dozen people were eventually killed. Scores were arrested.

No resolution is in sight, and that’s because of one simple, inescapable fact: Neither side has a popular mandate.

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