Skimm for L.A. Politics, Week of 10/31/2016

Skimmed while recovering from a tonsillectomy!

Quote of the Day:


“This government is going to fall!”


-Shouted by protestors who filled Caracas’ highways this week in protest of the Maduro government


Determined to end 17 years of socialism.


The Story:

Thousands of Venezuelans have had enough with the leftist Maduro regime and are demanding his removal.


What Happened?

Last week, the Maduro government suspended the peoples’ push for a referendum in the hopes of removing him from the Presidency. It is a constitutional right of Venezuelans to fight for a plebiscite such as this one, and now citizens are accusing Maduro of relying on electoral and judicial authorities to block it. There have been mass confrontations with local police forces that view these protestors as representing the next great revolution, and Maduro says that these government loyalists are ready to destroy it. On Wednesday, thousands of protestors gathered in Maracaibo, and three university students were shot. 80% of citizens want Maduro out of office this year, and it is said that he is trying to block every democratic way of getting him out. The protestors and opposition forces say that they will continue to protest until the recall vote is again allowed to be put forward. Even Pope Francis has gotten involved in attempting to instill negotiations between the opposition and the government.


Why is the Maduro government so terrible?
Maduro’s Presidency has aligned with one of the worst recessions in the nations history where citizens struggle to find basic necessities such as groceries and toilet paper at local supermarkets. It also faces broken hospitals, lack of jobs, and high food prices. There is triple-digit inflation and low oil prices, although the nation is atop one of the world’s biggest oil reserves. Maduro blames the U.S. for an “economic war” waged against Venezuela, and he accuses the opposition of trying to acquire U.S. help in staging a coup. The people blame Maduro, successor of Chavez who only won the Presidency by a narrow vote, for the nation’s economic problems. If the Maduro government is not taken out of power this year, his term will end in 2019.


Pedestrian Troubles in Costa Rica


The Story:

Due to the nation’s tangled bureaucracy, citizens in the capital city of San José are complaining about the amount of congestion and traffic in the inner-city areas. One study says that San José has the worst traffic in all of Latin America, and that Costa Ricans in San José spend 15 days a year stuck in traffic, due to a lack of a cohesive infrastructure program to promote safe walkways, bike areas, and better carbon neutrality. So, activists have taken to the streets with graffiti explaining that they want more funding to research public transportation, to educate the public about the ways of the city, and a more positive attitude towards cyclists who reduce carbon emission and traffic congestion. These “chepecletas” are holding city bike tours to increase the city’s touristic image and transportation ability, and want to support initiatives so that the government will fund more sustainable urban routes. The lack of cohesive infrastructure is due to the fragmented government structure, divided into many consulting boards who do not cooperate on actual initiatives.


What’s actually being Done?

Apart from the chepecletas group, other civil society groups such as “Móvete por tu Ciudad” are conducting studies and want to produce a plan that analyses public transportation in San José. They are putting pressure on the local transportation ministry and hopes to involve more citizens and get more politicians involved. Another group, “Rutas Naturbanas,” envision an actual plan for city infrastructure, with plans such as creating a 25km trail along the city’s two main rivers, which would allow all citizens to navigate the city by bike or on foot. They’ve received more than 20,000 signatures and are planning to send it on to local politicians. Other groups are also taking this local problem to the global scale by attempting to outright stop petroleum usage. “Costa Rica Limpia”’s new national campaign is drawing both domestic and international attention with its brave claim. It notes that the nation already has many fundamentals to achieve this goal, such as a small population, not much manufacturing, and renewable electricity. Many believe that the government will eventually cede to these efforts, but what remains to be a challenge is motivating other Costa Ricans to support it as well.




Sources in order of appearance