politics

As Nicolas Maduro Dances In Celebration, Protests Turn Violent In The Streets Of Venezuela

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The crisis in Venezuela shows no signs of improving as violence erupted at several points along Venezuela’s border over the weekend. Armed government forces tried to block shipments of aid from entering the country that resulted in the death of four people and injuring countless more. Soldiers threw tear gas and rounds of rubber bullets at protesters who tried to bring boxes of aid across the neighboring Colombian and Brazilian borders. The aid, which came from the U.S, is desperately needed right now as thousands are in urgent need of food and medicine.

Venezuela is on the brink of a humanitarian crisis with no end in sight.

Maduro, pedazo de malnacido, sabíamos que eres incompetente, ignorante, farsante, dictador, marioneta, corrupto, narco, cobarde, criminal, pero ahora ya sabemos que eres el asesino criminal del pueblo venezolano. Que Dios te maldiga y te fulmine. Y pronto!!! pic.twitter.com/joCgq95feX— Miguel Bosé (@BoseOfficial) February 23, 2019

This is all happening as as embattled president Nicolás Maduro tries to withstand opposition from within Venezuela and other international leaders who’ve called for him to step down. Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido, who is being supported by the U.S., backed the efforts of the incoming aid. Maduro has rejected the help and called upon military forces to stop people from getting to the aid, this resulted in a clash with activists at the Venezuelan border on Saturday.

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“They started shooting at close range as if we were criminals,” Vladimir Gomez, a shoekeeper told NBC News. “I couldn’t avoid the (rubber) bullets and they hit me in the face and my back. We have to fight.”

Trucks carrying aid have been torched as Maduro has attempted to stop help from coming into the country.

A truck in a convoy attempting to deliver humanitarian aid into Venezuela from Colombia went up in flames and crowds started taking boxes of supplies from another truck, as Nicolas Maduro has refused to allow any kind of international aid in the country. https://t.co/nmlqoBh818 pic.twitter.com/KUIIgqe52p— ABC News (@ABC) February 25, 2019

Three trucks of aid caught on fire along border checkpoints at the Santander and Simón Bolivar bridges that connect Venezuela to Colombia. Venezuelan authorities blamed pro-opposition protestors for burning the aid trucks and for attacking Venezuelan security authorities on the bridges. Maduro has previously said the aid is not needed and called those trying to help bring it in to the country “traitors.”

While all this was happening, Maduro was dancing it up at a pro-regime rally.

Maduro dances on national TV as national guards fire tear gas and plastic pellets at crowds trying to move humanitarian aid into the country along the Colombian border pic.twitter.com/4u4zEHDixi— Patricia Laya (@PattyLaya) February 23, 2019

Video captured Maduro dancing with his wife during a pro-regime rally Saturday in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas. The scene was criticized by many as turmoil in the streets turned deadly. Even as Maduro starts to lose power within his own country, he has remained defiant in his refusal to give up control.

Maduro has now broken off diplomatic and political relations with Colombia because of their support of the U.S. move to bring aid. He has ordered all Colombian diplomats to leave Venezuela.

The U.S has now placed more sanctions on Venezuela, asking for Maduro to step down.

Vice President Pence announces new sanctions against Venezuela’s Maduro in speech from Colombia https://t.co/Se2XijM7Bv— TIME (@TIME) February 25, 2019

On Monday, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence met with Venezuelan Guaido to show the country’s support. The meeting was the first between Pence and Guaido since the US decided to publicly back him as the rightful Venezuelan leader about a month ago. While President Trump has previously said “all options are on the table” when it comes to Venezuela, the U.S. will try to diplomatically take down Maduro first.

“In the days ahead as well, the United States will announce even stronger sanctions on the regime’s corrupt financial networks. We will work with all of you to find every last dollar that they’ve stolen and work to return it to the Venezuelan people,” Pence said at the meeting with Guaidó.

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One thing is clear, the people in Venezuela are facing turmoil beyond just the rule of Maduro. The country is facing economic downfall due to inflation and a government that is denying help. If Guaidó and other opposition forces are too succeed, they will need restore hope back to the people of Venezuela.

Esperanza Rodriguez, 49, had worked as a Venezuelan police offer for 19 years before leaving the job. She was at the border where she asked security to allow the aid in. Rodriguez told the LA Times the people in Venezuela are suffering and change is desperately needed.

“This is just the first step. We need to get rid of Maduro and his corrupt government and start a new Venezuela.”

READ:What You Need To Know About The Growing Turmoil In Venezuela That Has Left At Least 40 People Dead

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Bernie Sanders Taps San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz As Co-Chair For Presidential Campaign

Politics

Bernie Sanders Taps San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz As Co-Chair For Presidential Campaign

@CarmenYulinCruz / Twitter / berniesanders / Instagram

Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz of San Juan has agreed to be one of four national co-chairs of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) 2020 presidential campaign. The news comes just days after the 77-year-old senator announced that he was running for president again after a bitter defeat in the 2016 Democratic Primary. The support from Cruz is huge news in terms of name recognition as the Democratic field of candidates keeps growing.

With the backing of Sanders,Cruz brings diversity, a progressive agenda and a well-documented opposition of President Donald Trump.

Some forget that real power stems from people’s will to change. @BernieSanders understands that a movement for financial, social, racial & environmental justice starts from the bottom up. Honored to co-chair with @ninaturner @RoKhanna and Ben Cohen the political revolution. pic.twitter.com/opss7vnwes— Carmen Yulín Cruz (@CarmenYulinCruz) February 22, 2019

Cruz agrees with Sanders on various platform issues like education, LGBTQ+ rights and environmental issues. She hopes that teaming up with Sanders will also shed light on issues that have plagued Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria hit back in 2017.

Cruz publicly clashed with President Trump in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, criticizing the administrations lack of response to the disaster. An estimated 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico due to Hurricane Maria including the weeks after the storm hit.

“This is personal. The president came and threw paper towels at us,” Cruz said in an interview with NBC News. “He continues to disregard the pain of people from Puerto Rico.”

While Puerto Ricans on the island cannot vote in the general election, despite being legal U.S. citizens, they will be able to vote in the primaries. With the support of the San Juan Mayor, Sanders is sure to gain some support in Puerto Rico.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, another Democrat running for president, joined Sanders in co-sponsoring legislation to help with the Puerto Rico’s $73 billion debt that it still deals with today.

“When it comes to Puerto Rico, I am confident that Bernie will help us usher a new path towards the resolution of many of the issues facing Puerto Rico including, but not limited to, a new relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States ensuring that with every step we forge a path to guarantee that all voices are heard and the will of the people of Puerto Rico sets forth the agenda.” Cruz said in a statement.

Having Cruz in Sanders’ corner means a high-profile Latina will have a voice in his campaign.

She has been one of Trump’s fiercest critics. Now San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz is one of 4 natl campaign co-chairs for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. https://t.co/twu75av1v6— NBC Latino (@NBCLatino) February 22, 2019

One of the biggest criticisms of Sanders campaign in 2016 was his lack of support from voters in the Latino and Black communities. While he did receive support from younger Latino demographics in some states, Cruz’s support might play a big role when it comes to states like Nevada and Puerto Rico.

Cruz doesn’t expect to just be talking to primarily Latino groups for the campaign. She said there will not any “walls that keep us in our corner because that will be ineffective.”

Cruz joins what has already become an increasingly diverse group backing Sanders.

To defeat Trump we must build a team prepared to fight for economic, social, racial & environmental justice. That’s exactly what @ninaturner, @RoKhanna, @CarmenYulinCruz and @YoBenCohen have been doing their entire lives. I’m excited to announce them as campaign co-chairs.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) February 21, 2019

Joining Cruz as co-chairs of the Sanders campaign is Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner (D) and Ben Cohen, a co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. The appointment of Khanna and Turner are significant not only because of the progressive policies they bring but the diversity they present to Sanders campaign.

Sanders recently made headlines with his campaign manager pick. The Daily Beast reported that Sanders had hired Faiz Shakir, the national political director of the American Civil Liberties Union, for the head position. Shakir is likely to be the first Muslim American to head a major presidential campaign.

While the 2020 elections are still more than a year away, things are certainly gearing up on the Democratic side. At this time, there are 14 confirmed Democrats running for congress.

READ: Here’s Why You Need to Know Rep. Adriano Espaillat, The First Undocumented Immigrant in Congress

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