SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

March 5, 2014

A look at what others are saying

Excerpts from the editorials of other New England newspapers:

Perhaps Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro thought it would be useful to wait until the world was preoccupied with the conflict in Ukraine to unleash a vicious attack on civilian protesters. Whatever his rationale, in recent days, Maduro’s government has undertaken a brutal crackdown on demonstrations throughout the country.

The protesters are mostly young people who are fed up with their repressive and incompetent government, and they’ve taken to the streets to vent their frustration (mostly peacefully). In response, Maduro has sent in security forces armed with tear gas and guns.

According to Slate online magazine, meanwhile, “Bands of regime supporters — paramilitary gangs known as colectivos — swarmed neighborhoods and public squares on their motorcycles, firing live ammunition at anyone who remained in the open.” At least eight people have died in the clashes.

While the latest spasm of violence in the country is deeply troubling, the truth is that Venezuela has been falling apart for a long time. Under its last president before Maduro, Hugo Chávez, who died a year ago and who ruled the country for 14 years, civil society was smothered. The media came under government control. The independent judiciary was weakened. As Human Rights Watch put it: “By his second full term in office, the concentration of power and erosion of human rights protections had given the government free rein to intimidate, censor and prosecute Venezuelans who criticized the president or thwarted his political agenda.”

Things will change only when Venezuela gets a new government that will restore the rule of law.

— The Providence Journal

There’s hardly an ingredient in that candy bar you just unwrapped that the government didn’t have a strong, distorting hand in producing — the peanuts, the sugar, the milk, to name a few. U.S. sugar companies, for example, benefit from a series of overlapping trade protections that the last “reform” farm bill left untouched.

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