Last week, The Daily Wire reported on the shooting death of 19-year-old Venezuelan protester, Jairo Ortiz.
As the socialist paradise of Venezuela descends into chaos under the rule of President Nicolas Maduro, its starving citizens have taken to the streets in protest. Ortiz was the first to be killed in these most recent demonstrations.
Now, ABC News is reporting that at least four more have died during anti-government protests, including a 13-year-old:
The public prosecutor's office says it will investigate the death of 36-year-old Miguel Colmenares. He was shot at a protest in the central city of Barquisimeto on Tuesday.
Gruseny Calderon was killed during the same protest. Congressman Alfonso Marquina says the 32-year-old protester was injured by rubber bullets that pierced his lung and liver.
The protests have also claimed the lives of two college students and a 13-year-old.
Protests have intensified following "a Supreme Court ruling nullifying congress," which was later walked back, according to Fox News, and after opposition leader, Henrique Capriles, was banned from running for president for the next decade and a half.
The Associated Press reports that following the legal action against Capriles, the leader "urged supporters to take to the streets...to defend their political rights and demand the removal of President Nicolas Maduro."
The socialist government of Venezuela is deeply unscrupulous and dysfunctional. When the South American nation could export its large reserves of easily-retrievable oil, it was able to disguise the fact that its socialist government was failing. However, an escalating series of problems have torn away the curtain, revealing the ineptitude and corruption of Maduro's Venezuela.
- World oil prices have plummeted
- Retrieving and refining heavy oil in Venezuela's Orinoco Belt is difficult and costly
- Hyper-inflation has made investment worthless
- Rolling power outages have led to decreased production of oil
Without massive oil exports, Venezuela is quickly becoming a Mad Max-like dystopia, with starving citizens rioting for basic food items, retailers attempting to sell goods on the side in order to make ends meet, and a healthcare system in which clean water and basic medications are considered a luxury.
As Jeff Jacoby writes in The Boston Globe:
For three years in a row, Venezuela has ranked No. 1 on Johns Hopkins University economist Steve Hanke’s “misery index,” which ranks each of the world’s countries according to a formula that adds its unemployment, interest, and inflation rates, then subtracts its annual change in gross domestic product per capita.
With Venezuelan currency virtually worthless — hyperinflation this year is estimated at higher than 700 percent — residents have to resort to humiliating workarounds. Reuters reported this month that Venezuelan women have been flocking across the border into Colombia and selling their hair to earn some money with which to buy food, medicine, or diapers.
The government in Caracas, meanwhile, clings tightly to its socialist dogma, blaming the country’s woes on Colombia’s mafia or greedy businessmen.
This misery has brought about massive protests, which have now led to the deaths of at least five individuals.
Perhaps a citizen of the failing nation can best articulate the problem. ABC News relays a quote from 21-year-old graphic designer, Rolisber Aguirre, who marched in the rain during the most recent wave of protests: "It's time to stop being poor and hungry. I'm going to stay in the streets until we get rid of this government."