Venezuela Slides Ever Faster Towards Ever More Oppressive Dictatorship

     It is a sure sign of trouble within a repressive regime when the people no longer feel restrained from violently tearing down the statues of regimes objects of a cult of personality:

“In one Venezuelan city, a statue of former dictator Hugo Chavez was torn down and smashed in the streets.”

     If any other sign was needed, than being marched against by brave women in white ought to be sufficient.

     But nothing quite says “evil repressive regime” like a whip with nails…

     Of course, what would an disreputable evil regime be without disappearing political enemies:

“In Venezuela, if you loudly and strongly criticize President Nicolas Maduro, you’re invited to take up residence in a heavily fortified prison where you eventually disappear from sight… assuming you’re still even alive.

“That seems to be what’s happened to opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez. For those not familiar, Lopez was one the earliest public opponents of Maduro’s regime, speaking out and calling for reforms. His reward for his civic participation was to be locked away in the heavily guarded Ramo Verde prison. And that took place back in 2014, just as a reminder to those of you who might think that Maduro’s tyrannical antics only began recently. For a couple of years he was at least getting visits from his wife and other relatives, but in April of this year Lopez simply disappeared and nobody was allowed to see him.”

     And the protesters that are arrested aren’t dealt with by civilian authorities, but by secret military tribunals

“But when the authorities rounded up suspects for the vandalism, they were not taken to an ordinary court. Instead, they were hauled off to a military base, where they faced the judges of a military tribunal this past week.

“President Nicolás Maduro, beleaguered by a second month of protests against his rule, has prosecuted political rivals under terrorism laws and expanded his powers by emergency decrees. His backers on the Supreme Court have even tried to dissolve the national legislature, which is led by the political opposition.

“Now, the president is turning to military courts to tighten his grip further, prosecuting demonstrators and other civilians in tribunals that the government closely controls.”

     At this point, the only surcease is in black humor:

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