May 15, 2016
State Of Emergency Declared In Venezuela: President Says U.S. Trying To Start Coup

A state of emergency was declared Friday night by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro after stating that he believes that interests inside his own country, as well as in the U.S., wish to incite a coup to overthrow him.

"Washington is activating measures at the request of Venezuela's fascist right, who are emboldened by the coup in Brazil," The Atlantic reported President Maduro as saying.

"Powerful oligarchic, media and imperial forces have decided to finish with the progressive forces, the popular revolutionary leaderships of the left in the continent. The coup in Brazil is a grave and dangerous sign for the future stability and peace of all the continent. I know they're coming for Venezuela now," Vice News reported Maduro as saying in his address.

The Guardian reported that Maduro declared the state of emergency "hours" after U.S. intelligence officials said that they believe Venezuela is on the brink of collapse, but that the president had said that the declaration gives him powers that will help him to "stabilize our country, and confront all the international and national threats against our fatherland in this moment."

Venezuela's state of emergency may be late in being declared. The state of emergency should have been declared years ago, since, for the last several years, Venezuela has been on the verge of economic disaster. There have been massive food-shortages, black-outs, and back in 2013, there was even a toilet paper shortage, reported USA Today.

Maduro, being the former vice president, came into power after the Hugo Chavez -- the former president -- died of cancer back in early 2013. He was then voted back into office in mid-2013 and has remained in power ever since. Lately, however, Maduro's approval ratings have plummeted to a mere 15 percent, and public outcry over not only the political climate, but also the mere living conditions in the country has begun to soar.

There have been many protests against President Maduro and his socialist administration, including one on Wednesday -- which ended in a battle between the army and rock-slinging protesters who were eventually dispersed by tear gas -- as the opposition aims to eventually have a presidential recall vote.

The problem with trying to get the vote in the first place, however, is that the petitions are largely being delayed by the Venezuelan administration, reported Reuters.

Venezuelan Protesters
Venezuelan protesters reacting to gas on May 11 as thousands marched against Nicolas Maduro and his socialist administration. [AP Photo/Fernando Llano]Placing the blame on the U.S. is not unfounded, as back in 2002, the United States did support a coup attempt to try and overthrow President Hugo Chavez and his socialist administration.

Back in August, 2015, Fox News Latino reported that Venezuela had blamed the U.S. for massive amounts of looting in the country, saying that it was all part of a political plot to "weaken the county's revolution."

The Wall Street Journal reported that a U.S. official said it's not in America's best interest to let Venezuela dissolve into ruin, as it's an oil-rich country, which isn't very far away from the U.S. mainland.

"The goal is to mitigate the crisis that they're experiencing."
As the next 60 days pass, Venezuela will be tested more than most oil-rich countries have been. Venezuela is a member of OPEC, or the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, and at the moment it's still up to Maduro as to how the country with navigate its current economic and political policies, which have, so far, driven the country to this state of emergency.
[Photo by John Moore/Getty Images]