President Nicolas Maduro declared a state of emergency in Venezuela on Friday, May 13. According to Maduro, the state of emergency, which was decreed to last for 60 days, was issued because of plots against Venezuela from within Venezuela and from the United States to "subvert him." He didn't specify details pertaining to the plots.
Opposition forces within Venezuela publicly criticized the measure, reports Reuters, calling it the action of a "desperate president." Observers say that the Venezuela state of emergency is proof that the country's president it panicking amid calls for a recall referendum.
"We're talking about a desperate president who is putting himself on the margin of legality and constitutionality. If this state of emergency is issued without consulting the National Assembly, we would technically be talking about a self-coup."
While Venezuela's Maduro has sworn that he will complete his term as president, protests in Venezuela are increasing and roughly 70 percent of citizens in the country want their president out this year. Before ordering the state of emergency, Maduro blasted his political rivals, calling them "coup-mongering elitists" who want nothing more than to follow in the footsteps of Brazil. That nation's leftist leader, Dilma Rousseff, was recently impeached.
As part of the recently-issued state of emergency in Venezuela, the country's disputed president has ordered military exercises to begin next weekend. According to Maduro, the exercises are in response to "trouble makers" trying to incite and/or justify a foreign invasion of Venezuela.
"We're going to tell imperialism and the international right that the people are present, with their farm instruments in one hand and a gun in the other... to defend this sacred land."Maduro also said that, as part of Venezuela's 60-day state of emergency, the government will take over factories that have been closed due to the country's economic downturn. As the BBC reports, citizens are particularly concerned about that portion of the Venezuelan state of emergency declaration.
The president of Venezuela didn't provide details regarding his plans to seize idled factories, but the thread did come just after a fracas between the Polar Group and Venezuela's government. The company, the largest food and beverage company in the country, stopped producing beer recently, blaming the government for meddling in the importation of the barley it needs.
The company's owner has been an outspoken critic of Maduro, the president recently accused him of "paralyzing" production and sabotaging Venezuela.
"We must take all measures to recover productive capacity, which is being paralysed by the bourgeoisie. Anyone who wants to halt [production] to sabotage the country should get out, and those who do must be handcuffed and sent to the PGV [Venezuelan General Penitentiary]."While Venezuela's president seems to be focusing his state of emergency priorities on the military and industrial aspects of Venezuela, critics say he should be worrying about the "urgent needs of the people." One protester said there would be a "social explosion" if the recall efforts against Maduro fail.
When he addressed the people of Venezuela, Maduro said that the state of emergency could likely be extended over to 2017. In a previous state of emergency for states near the border with Colombia last year, constitutional guarantees for citizens were suspended but guarantees related to human rights were not.
This time around, the President of Venezuela didn't specify whether his state of emergency would limit the constitutional rights of Venezuela's citizens; he simply said that it would provide "a fuller, more comprehensive protection for our people."
[Image Courtesy Of Spencer Platt/Getty Images]