Undeniably, Venezuela is a dictatorship:
The Supreme Court, which is packed with allies of President Nicolás Maduro, ruled late Wednesday that the congress was in contempt of court for having sworn in three lawmakers from the remote Amazonas state whom the ruling party had accused of electoral fraud. The court said it takes over all “parliamentary capacities” until the conflict is resolved.
“Maduro now has all powers in his hands, without any checks and balances,” Mr. [Assembly President Julio] Borges said. “This is the action of a desperate man who knows the whole world is turning against him.”
Maduro and his regime have been doing this for a while; this move only makes it official. As John Sexton points out,
As the country’s financial situation continued to deteriorate, the opposition party won 112 of 167 seats in the National Assembly in elections held in December 2015. However, before the outgoing socialists left office they helped stack the country’s Supreme Court with judges loyal to the socialists. The result was that even once the opposition took power in January 2016, nearly every effort they made to change the direction of the country has been overruled by the court.
— Michael Welling (@WellingMichael) March 31, 2017
Stripped of their powers, Venezuelan lawmakers accuse Maduro of a ‘coup’
Earlier this week, the NYTimes editorial board was calling for humanitarian aid to Venezuela,
A more fruitful step for the international community would be to find ways to help alleviate Venezuela’s immediate problems. The most urgent issue is persuading the government to accept humanitarian aid by putting forward detailed offers of needed food and medicine. A growing number of Venezuelans are going hungry in a food shortage, and dying from treatable ailments in squalid, ill-equipped hospitals.
Perhaps the Times board instead ought to consider appealing to Venezuela’s vice-president El Aisami,
OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro stated that the United States Treasury Department has frozen nearly US $3 billion of Venezuela Vice-President Tareck El Aissami’s assets, “an amount equivalent to half the cost of the country’s 2012 food imports.”