Venezuela Must Avoid More Violence Over Protests

The United States and its allies should press Venezuela’s government to avoid further violence following the street protests in which five people have been reported killed, the Atlantic Council’s Jason Marczak says. President Nicolas Maduro has seen three weeks of demonstrations intensify following his government’s arrest Tuesday of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez.

“The protests in Venezuela over the last few days are bound to only lead to greater unrest unless real action is taken to fix the underlying structural issues – both political and economic – that have led the country down this path,” said Marczak, deputy director of the Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center.

“This volatile economic and political situation” can no longer be managed with “new decrees that target the private sector at the expense of the greater economy and the need for true political reconciliation,” Marczak said. “Unfortunately, the Venezuelan government has shown no appetite for either, instead, choosing to arrest opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez and degrade the protesters as fascists. The international community has a role to play in reminding the Maduro government of the need to respect the liberties of its people and avoid further violence.”

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