Opinion

Venezuela’s recall referendum suspension endangers freedom of speech

alexandersr / Pixabay

alexandersr / Pixabay

As a U.S. resident, I wholeheartedly embrace our country’s democratic principles. One of the most essential political assets is our ability to have our voices heard regardless of regional origin.

And as a native of Venezuela, I can’t help but feel angered and saddened by the Venezuelan election board’s decision to halt the process for a recall referendum that could have potentially ousted President Nicolás Maduro.

This is only the latest of indignities stemming from the impoverished South-American country. Nicolás Maduro and his allies have consistently suppressed the voices of millions of opposition leaders and protestors, most notably Leopoldo López, who Amnesty International called “a prisoner of conscience.”

In 2014, López was arrested and sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison for his leading role in the mass protests of that same year. However, Franklin Nieves, a prosecutor in López’s trial, subsequently fled to the United States and called the trial a “farce,” admitting that he was pressured by Venezuelan government officials.

The Venezuelan government’s response to Nieves’ comment has been silent – the same government that is led by a man who has frequently praised the totalitarian principles of the Castro regime and joked about the ongoing food shortage in Venezuela, calling it the “Maduro diet.”

Nicolás Maduro’s dangerous lack of accountability and flippant attitude toward the ongoing struggles of the Venezuelan people not only makes him totally unfit to be president, it also makes him directly responsible for the country’s soaring crime rates, staggeringly high inflation rates and now, the death knell for whatever is left of Venezuela’s democracy.

According to a poll by Caracas-based Venebarometro, 88 percent of likely voters would willingly choose to oust Nicolás Maduro in the midst of one of the worst political and economic crises in Venezuela’s history. By disregarding these statistics, Maduro echoes a message that the late President Hugo Chávez upheld far too well – one of carelessness and ignorance.

Protestors must continue to make their voices heard in order to grind through the political malaise that has polluted what was once a more economically stable country. This is a time in which Venezuelans all around the world need to speak up against Maduro’s tyrannical regime. In doing so, Venezuela can move one step closer toward restoring what some Americans take for granted – democracy, liberty, a system of checks and balances and freedom of speech.

Israel Aragon is a sophomore majoring in psychology.

Featured image courtesy Pixabay user alexandersr.

October 26, 2016

Reporters

Israel Aragon Bravo


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

When Al Golden recruited David Njoku to the University of Miami in 2014 the Cedar Grove, N.J. native ...

The night after FIU gave away a game to the University of Miami with a ninth-inning passed ball that ...

Redshirt freshman quarterback Jack Allison left the University of Miami football program on Tuesday. ...

Closer Frankie Bartow stared into the Panthers’ dugout immediately after fanning the final batter of ...

Go ahead. Try telling former University of Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya that his critics say he gets ...

UM marks Holocaust Remembrance Day with a reading of names and recollections of a survivor. ...

A recent paper argues that not only have researchers just scratched the surface of analyzing the Ama ...

The period of the first 100 days in office is a telling gauge for a president's full term in th ...

UM students, staff and faculty join the worldwide march to end men’s violence against women. ...

Greek Week at the University of Miami is committed to raising money and awareness for United Cerebra ...

Images from @CanesMensTennis match against Duke. ...

The University of Miami men's tennis team came up short against No. 34 Duke University, 4-1, Th ...

Images from @CanesMensTennis win over Boston College. ...

Sinead Lohan and Estela Perez-Somarriba of the Miami women's tennis team were both among the ni ...

The fourth-seeded Miami women's tennis team is set to open ACC Championship play Friday afterno ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.