Venezuela | Texas Public Radio

Venezuela

Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET

Juan Guaidó, Venezuela's most powerful opposition leader, has declared a start to the "final phase" of the effort to oust President Nicolás Maduro, urging supporters into the streets Tuesday and telling them, "The moment is now!"

The call for an uprising set off a cascade of demonstrations in Caracas, increasing clashes and raising the chances that members of Venezuela's military may face off against one another, depending on where their loyalties lie.

Venezuelans have been suffering one calamity after the next, but in recent weeks, much of Venezuela has had to go long stretches without electricity.

The political and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela has led many Venezuelans to seek safe haven in the U.S. and Mexico. While the Trump administration is strongly pushing for a change of government in Venezuela, Mexico has decided to stay neutral.

From Texas Standard:

In a tweet Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the situation in Venezuela is "deteriorating," and announced plans to remove all diplomatic staff from the country, amid a six-day nationwide power outage, ongoing violence and food shortages. The U.S. also recognizes opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country's president, though Nicolás Maduro still occupies the presidential palace. But it's unclear what the consequences will be with U.S. diplomats out of Caracas.

Secretary Pompeo, who's in Houston Tuesday for the CERAWeek energy conference, told Texas Standard he's ordering diplomats to leave for their safety. As a diplomat himself, he also says much of his focus is on finding ways to enhance America's security at home, including promoting U.S. oil and gas production. He says so-called energy independence gives the U.S. greater security and more leverage to negotiate with other countries.

Despite growing energy independence, the U.S. has relied for years on Venezuelan oil exports. But Pompeo says right now, the U.S. mainly wants to ensure the well-being of the Venezeulan people.

Susette is 4 years old. She and her mom live in Venezuela. Her dad, Renato, a customer service agent in Venezuela's main communications company, Cantv, took a bus to Peru in last July of 2018 in the hope of landing a job so he could send money home to feed his left-behind family.

(The family, and others interviewed for this story, asked that their last names not be used to protect the privacy of their children given their sensitive situation.)

Updated at 9:25 p.m. ET

Univision says journalist Jorge Ramos and a TV crew have been released after being "arbitrarily detained" in Caracas, Venezuela. The TV network says they were interviewing Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, but he didn't like their questions.

The U.S. State Department had tweeted, "We insist on their immediate release; the world is watching."

In 2016, the World Health Organization triumphantly declared the Americas to be the first region on the globe to eradicate measles. One year later, a measles outbreak erupted in Venezuela.

"And consequently, since June of 2017 we've seen upwards of almost 6,500 cases [in Venezuela]," says Robert Linkins from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Linkins is the branch chief of Accelerated Disease Control and Vaccine Preventable Disease Surveillance at the CDC, and in that role he's the CDC's top person on measles globally.

Oscar Moreno

In recent years, Venezuela has been rocked by poverty, crime, and corruption. With its society in crisis, and a government in gridlock, violence and revolution are in the air.

Alejandro Perez-Segnini has been transfixed by daily events. In this story, he tells us about the place he grew up.

This story was recorded 2.5.18 at Brick as part of Worth Repeating's "Where I Come From" show.  Email worthrepeating@tpr.org to pitch your stories.

As he watches the political unrest in his native country grow, the Venezuela-born conductor of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Carlos Izcarayis turning to a familiar place in search of solace and hope: music.

At the top of his playlist? The turbulent “Symphony No. 10,” by Soviet-era composer Dmitri Shostakovich.

Javier Corrales is a professor of political science at Amherst College and author of Fixing Democracy.


Venezuela's authoritarian government is unraveling, and possibly undergoing regime transition. Outside forces are playing an important role — but in an unexpected fashion.

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