Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Trouble in Venezuela

(The elected president of Venezuela - Maduro)

This is just my opinion, but there seems to be a dangerous trend in the world these days. Opposition political parties are using social media to organize protests (often violent) to try to remove elected leaders. (A trend is something that seems to be happening a lot.) (An 'opposition' political party is a political organization that does not have power, but wants power.)

This has happened in Egypt, Turkey, Thailand, Ukraine and now Venezuela.  

Again, I have to point to a country like South Korea.  They got rid of (eliminated) a dictatorship peacefully, and even though about half of Korea does not like the current president, you do not see Koreans killing each other in the streets.  Personally, I believe that if there is a problem in a democracy, peaceful means can be used to solve the problem. (A dictator is a leader who was not elected and who has total power.)

In Ukraine violent protests occurred 10 months before an election.  Was it worth it to destroy parts of Kiev, kill 25 police officers, and further ruin the Ukrainian economy when there was an election 10 months away?  Human life is not valuable?

What also bothers me is that the government of the USA seems to always support the protesters (those who gather together to show disapproval of something) when the government is not friendly with the USA, even though the protesters are taking anti-democratic action ('anti' means 'against'). But even though the US government will support these anti-democratic protests, they will then say the protesters are fighting for democracy.  This is called 'hypocrisy' - when you say one thing but do another thing, or when your actions contradict (go against) your words.

Here is a story about the protests happening in Venezuela:

The article:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia/2014/02/venezuela-says-us-plotting-with-protesters-2014217151340225175.html

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

to plot with - to develop a strategy or to plan actions with; so the government of Venezuela is claiming or alleging that the US government is helping or encouraging the protesters who are trying to overthrow this government.

to expel - to kick out of the country, to remove from the country

in retaliation for - in revenge for; if someone does something to hurt you, you might retaliate by trying to hurt them

Maduro's ordered the expulsions on Monday - please be aware this is a grammar/typing error. It should be: Maduro ordered the expulsions 

an expulsion - to get rid of someone, to force someone to leave a country

a mass rally - a gathering of a huge amount of people; mass means a lot of

he challenged the government to arrest him - basically he encouraged the government to arrest him knowing that it would be a big mistake for the government to do that; to challenge someone to do something is also to 'dare' a person to do something.  You know the person doesn't want to do something so you tell the person to do it anyway.

to arrest him - to have the police take him into custody

persona non grata - a person who is not welcome somewhere

to conspire - to work secretly to do something

the charges - allegations, claims

baseless - not based on anything true

to urge - to encourage

under the pretense of - under the excuse of; Venezuela claims that the US diplomats really wanted to offer advice and support and maybe even money to the students, but claimed they were talking to the students about visas.

as cover - they pretended to go to universities to talk about visas so they could secretly talk about increasing the protests

energized - given extra strength to, made the opposition more active

ousting - getting rid of; to oust someone means to get rid of him

scattered - not organized, here and there

provincial - cities in different provinces

socialist - a socialist government tries to control the economy to make sure that the needs of citizens are met; a capitalist government protects the interests of business in the belief that the wealth generated by business will help everyone

inherited - after Chavez died, Maduro received these problems

mired in - stuck in

controls on currency - I'm not an economist but somehow by not allowing the value of the currency to change, this has caused prices to rise and apparently new products are not being made

kicked out - forced out of the country

manoeuvre - maneuver is the English spelling: an strategic action

legitimise/legitimize attempts - to make attempts seem moral or ethical or legal

destabilize - make unstable, to make something so unstable or weak that it will collapse and fall

clashes - fights

infiltrators - people who sneak into (secretly enter) an organization to cause trouble

fomenting the violence - causing the violence

hooded assailants - attackers wearing hoods

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