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Venezuela

In Venezuela, The Maduro Reign Is Doomed

Political repression is one thing, but if store shelves are empty, the so-called "revolution" is destined to crumble.

Maduro, holding on to the past?
Maduro, holding on to the past?
Uriel Ortiz Soto

-OpEd-

BOGOTA — Hunger and misery spell the end of every revolution. The sufferers, for the sake of survival, will seek whatever means are avaible to break the chains that bind them.

It is one thing for a government to be oppressive, repressive and contemptuous of basic rights. Unpleasant as such conditions are, they are tolerable for many. What can't be accepted is a scarcity of basic goods in shops and supermarkets. That's when regimes crumble. And that, right now, is the story in the Venezuela of President Nicolás Maduro.

In spite of his boastful talk about the "Bolivarian Revolution," which Maduro barely understands, Venezuelans are looking for a way to rid themselves of a government whose ignorance and thievery have effectively wasted, or compromised for years to come, the country's formidable oil revenues — money that will be very difficult to recover.

We Colombians should appreciate the precarious state in which our neighbors and relatives have been living in recent years. We are bound by ties of freedom, blood and love, and separated only by a border.

Venezuela's geopolitical situation began to deteriorate in the early years of the reign of Hugo Chávez (1999-2013) as he sought to rebuild Venezuela on "Bolivarian" foundations. Honestly, not even Chávez believed in the future of his program, and it wasn't long before his policies provoked dissent in the political class that has been at the helm of Venezuelan democracy and public life since independence in the 19th century.

The petrodollars that served the socialist regime also began to cause disruption across Latin America. Wherever the caudillo went, he arrived with a briefcase full of the oil money that has helped forge such entities as the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, ALBA, as it's known in Spanish.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Kharkiv Revisited: Inside Russia's New Assault On The "Hero City" Of Ukraine

The nation's second-largest city, Kharkiv was quiet for weeks after Ukrainian forces took control. But now it is again under attack as Russia pushes to capture the city that's considered the "gateway" to Ukraine. Die Welt reports from the frontline.

Damages due to Russian shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine

Alfred Hackensberger

KHARKIV — "Come, I want to show you something," Denys Vezenych says, opening the door of his dental office.

The 40-year-old begins to tell the story in the waiting room: "It was April 16 when the Russian artillery shell hit. The windowpanes were broken, the walls had holes everywhere and the roof was destroyed. But I renovated everything."

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The repairs cost him several thousand euros. "You have to think positively, because life goes on," he explains with a smile. But this attitude is not so present generally in Saltivka, a neighborhood in northeastern Kharkiv. The dental practice may be like new, but the rest of this area in the northeastern Ukrainian city is completely destroyed.

The Russian army has done a great job in its three-month offensive on Ukraine's second largest metropolis. Countless flats have been burned out, the facades of houses have been shot to pieces, entire shopping centers have been bombed. Debris still lie in the streets everywhere.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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