Your morning five: Venezuela protesters man barricades

Also: a young Italian president’s bold reform agenda

Rodrigo Abd/AP

Rodrigo Abd/AP

We tell you how five stories around the world unfold over a week’s time.

1. Venezuelan barricades dot the capital. The government’s opponents in Caracas appear to be fed up enough with Nicolas Maduro’s administration that they’re blocking streets in the nation’s capital for the long haul. Thirteen people have died since protests flared up earlier this month. Unrest is particularly acute in San Cristobal, a city where Maduro challenger Henrique Capriles enjoys massive support and middle-class residents—not your typical protesters—are fed up. Jose Gregorio Vielma Mora, a governor of a western state and Socialist ally of Maduro, broke ranks and spoke out against the president’s deployment of troops to the region.

2. Matteo Renzi won the confidence of his country’s Senate. The Italian PM, who is one year too young to serve in his country’s Senate (he’s 39), convinced a majority of the upper chamber to support his ambitious reform plans that touch myriad facets of government: the justice system, public education, foreign investment, public debt, and even electoral reform. Renzi’s administration now faces a second vote of confidence, this time in parliament’s lower chamber. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who faced bulky opposition caucuses for the first five years of his time in power, must envy Renzi for his bold plan’s initial success from day one.

3. Ibrahim Mahlab could form a new Egyptian cabinet. Interim president Adly Mansour asked Mahlab, the housing minister until this week’s mass cabinet resignation, to cobble together a new team to lead the country’s social and economic revival. Prior to his time in cabinet, Mahlab chaired Arab Contractors, a large construction company that built plenty of Egyptian government buildings. Speculation endures that former defence minister Field Marshal Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, cleared of cabinet responsibilities, will mount a candidacy for president.

4. Yoweri Museveni doubled down on his homophobia. Uganda’s president signed an anti-gay bill into law and a newspaper, The Red Pepper, published a list of the country’s so-called Top 200 homosexuals. After he newly outlawed homosexuality, Museveni lashed out, accusing gays and lesbians of being mercenaries and prostitutes. He insisted they “are heterosexual people, but because of money they say they are homosexuals.” Museveni also warned western nations against criticizing his country’s newest law, a ineffective threat if ever one were uttered. Canadian foreign minister John Baird denounced the law, affirming its passage would “serve as an impediment” to bilateral relations. He made no further threats.

5. Wild game on the menu in Quebec. A deadly virus may have popped up in Quebec that threatens the province’s hog population, but have no fear. The province is prepared for a world without pork. Ten restaurants are part of a project that allows them to serve wild game—white-tailed deer! squirrel!—caught by hunters and sold through legitimate means. The chosen restaurateurs are cognizant of the challenge ahead. None desire an onslaught of charred forest creatures that threatens wild populations. But they’re happy to serve Bambi on a platter, sustainably.




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Your morning five: Venezuela protesters man barricades

  1. The question in Venezuela is whether disgust with the government has spread to the poor and working classes. The problem is that Venezuela has never really have an honest competent government. Before Chavez, you had oligarchs in both the right and left-leaning parties that were all about enriching themselves. Chavez came in claiming to be for the people. He made many symbolic moves and brought in Cuban doctors to help the public health system. However, he(and later Maduro) have screwed up big time. He has done nothing to update the equipment used by the government run oil company. The oil is his bread and butter. Yet, his failure to upgrade the equipment is leading to a reduction in yearly output. This gives Venezuela’s government less money to play with. Their socialist economic policies have discouraged foreign investment(which keeps Venezuela dependent on a single industry).
    Maduro or Chavez also did nothing to address the country’s ridiculously high crime rate which disproportionally affects poor neighborhoods. What laws have they passed to strengthen the criminal justice system? Venezuela did away with the death penalty in 1862. Are they going to bring it back? Have they put more cops in the street? Not really. They have made it much harder for private citizens to own firearms(through legislation). However, their gun control measure has had no effect on crime. There are questions about whether Chavez and his crew enriched themselves through links to drug gangs but that can’t be confirmed. The truth is that Maduro and his friends seem a lot better at rigging elections (like the last one) than they are at governing.

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