Monday, February 11, 2019
The allure of Chavismo, the late president's socialist policies aimed at vanquishing inequality and spreading prosperity, has waned in barrios like La Vega -- an urban expanse of narrow alleys and ramshackle dwellings gouged into verdant hills in the western edges of this capital city. La Vega has long been a bastion of support for the ruling socialist party and of the late Chavez's chosen successor, President Nicolas Maduro...until now.
As Juan Guaido publicly declared Maduro a "usurper" and proclaimed himself acting president, many La Vega residents descended to the streets in solidarity. The government's fearsome elite police squads cracked down hard on protests which shook not only La Vega, but also other barrios. Rioting, looting and clashes between police and demonstrators roiled many poor neighborhoods, killing dozens.
The fact that poor people in La Vega took to the streets in protest is a sign of a grass-roots political shift in Venezuela, and is bad news for Maduro.
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