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Cynthia J. Arnson's remarks on the recent developments in Venezuela

Cindy Arnson

Anti-government protesters clashed with police in Venezuela, leaving three people shot to death and many injured.

Cynthia J. Arnson's remarks on the recent developments in Venezuela

Photo Credit: Demonstrators run away from tear gas during a protest in Caracas. Jorge Silva / Reuters

The dead and wounded in Venezuela during yesterday's demonstrations reflect everyone's worst fears: that deepening polarization in the midst of the country's escalating problems would erupt into political violence.  There's some evidence that anti-government protestors were engaged in rock-throwing and other non-peaceful means.  But the rapid escalation into lethal force appears to be a logical consequence of the government's policy of arming civilian militias to 'defend the revolution.'  This is vigilantism, pure and simple.  It's an extremely dangerous development--not the first time, for sure, that pro-government thugs have attacked members of the opposition--but an ominous portent of where things might go as the economic and security situations continue to deteriorate.

About the Author

Cindy Arnson

Cynthia J. Arnson

Director, Latin American Program
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Latin American Program

The Wilson Center’s prestigious Latin American Program provides non-partisan expertise to a broad community of decision makers in the United States and Latin America on critical policy issues facing the Hemisphere. The Program provides insightful and actionable research for policymakers, private sector leaders, journalists, and public intellectuals in the United States and Latin America. To bridge the gap between scholarship and policy action, it fosters new inquiry, sponsors high-level public and private meetings among multiple stakeholders, and explores policy options to improve outcomes for citizens throughout the Americas. Drawing on the Wilson Center’s strength as the nation’s key non-partisan forum, the Program serves as a trusted source of analysis and a vital point of contact between the worlds of scholarship and action.  Read more