Maduro pummels Venezuelan slums as his power comes under attack

Maduro pummels Venezuelan slums as his power comes under attack, by Mariana Zuniga.

A culture centre run by Maduro loyalists was burnt down. …

Maduro called the arsonists “fascist criminals,” and residents in the western Caracas enclave paid the price. Mask-wearing special forces, locals said, swarmed the suburb last week, kicking in doors, rounding up young people and imposing a curfew.

The assault on Puerta Caracas is part of what observers call the most ruthless crackdown unleashed by Maduro since coming to power in 2013. Over the past week, similar operations have extended to at least five other rebellious slums across the capital, leaving 35 people dead – including victims as young as 16 – and more than 850 arrested. …

Government security operations, including those by Maduro’s fearsome Special Action Forces (FAES), are moving in on the desperate barrios once loyal to him. In the past, middle- and upper-class residents have led the protests; this time, it is the poorer sectors of the city that have convulsed in rebellion, igniting choruses of an expression long used by the opposition: “When the slums finally rise up, Maduro will fall.”

The government pushback carries echoes of 2017, when protests were brutally quashed, leaving more than 100 dead. But this time, use of lethal force and arrests, experts say, has been far swifter.

Socialist governments always seem get to a stage where the socialist leaders impose their will by sheer brutal force. Coincidence? Of course not. Anyone still advocating strong socialism needs to come to terms with this phenomenon and explain in advance why it would be different when they are in charge.