Venezuela: The Game Changed Last Night

Caracas Chronicles

San Cristobal ayer San Cristobal on Tuesday night

Listen and understand. The game changed in Venezuela last night. What had been a slow-motion unravelling that had stretched out over many years went kinetic all of a sudden.

What we have this morning is no longer the Venezuela story you thought you understood.

Throughout last night, panicked people told their stories of state-sponsored paramilitaries on motorcycles roaming middle class neighborhoods, shooting at people and  storming into apartment buildings, shooting at anyone who seemed like he might be protesting. People continue to be arrested merely for protesting, and a long established local Human Rights NGO makes an urgent plea for an investigation into widespread reports of torture of detainees. There are now dozens of serious human right abuses: National Guardsmen shooting tear gas canisters directly into residential buildings. We have videos of soldiers shooting civilians on the street. And that’s just what came out…

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Protests in Ukraine

It is still too early to tell what the eventual outcome of the protests in Ukraine will be. Despite demonstrations becoming increasingly protracted, President Viktor Yanukovych remains in support of his decision to withdraw from a planned agreement that would see the Ukraine become part of the European Union. It is clear that the people are against his decision. Being integrated into the EU would see numerous economic benefits along with looser movement in and out of the country; free trade with Europe open up unprecedented opportunities, but the President has turned this down in favour of keeping closer links with Russia. Admittedly Russia is the largest market for Ukrainian exports, but the EU market is undeniably crucial for the growth of Ukraine both economically and politically amongst the international community. President Yanukovych’s pro-Russia stance is well documented, but the Ukrainian people see the need for closer ties to Western Europe and achieving this would be a significant step in their development; staying away from the EU under pressure from Moscow is a frankly regressive direction that is reminiscent of Cold War politics.