The Political Crackdown Continues in Venezuela

And no chávista–inside or outside of Venezuela–has denounced it. I can’t imagine why:

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has used the military, legislative and judicial power consolidated during 15 years of socialist rule in a sudden series of blows against opponents who have spent more than a month protesting in the streets, knocking down their barricades and throwing dissident leaders in jail.

Thursday dawned with two more opposition politicians behind bars, one of them sentenced to more than 10 months in prison. And pro-government lawmakers had already started trying to jail another outspoken critic as well, moving to strip an opposition congresswoman of her legislative immunity from prosecution.

Maduro has been warning his rivals for weeks that they could soon meet the same fate as opposition hardliner Leopoldo Lopez, who was jailed on charges related to the Feb. 12 protests that initiated the wave of unrest, which has so far led to at least 28 deaths, most of them after Lopez was arrested.

San Diego Mayor Enzo Scarano was removed from his post by the Supreme Court, arrested and on the same day sent to begin a 10 ½-month prison term for failing to heed a court order to have protesters’ barricades removed from the streets of his city.

San Cristobal Mayor Daniel Ceballos was arrested as well on charges of rebellion and conspiracy. Maduro said in a speech last month that Ceballos would soon join Lopez in prison for fomenting violence. “It’s a matter of time until we have him in the same cold cell,” Maduro said.

Maduro said Thursday in a lengthy speech to ruling party officials that the government would continue looking to identify and “neutralize” the country’s enemies.

Remember back when chávistas–both inside and outside of Venezuela–claimed that George W. Bush’s presidency heralded an era of fascism? Boy, those were the days! And yet, they remain utterly silent in the face of stories like this one. Imagine that.

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