Caribbean Crackdowns: A Really Bad Week For Democracy, Free Enterprise – WLRN

Posted: August 1, 2017 at 6:37 pm

Fears of a dictatorship forming in Venezuela seemed borne out early Tuesday when the government hauled opposition leaders to jail. But this is shaping up to be a bad week for democracy and free enterprise across the Caribbean.

Venezuelas socialist president, Nicols Maduro, had promised to jail many of his opponents once a new constituent assembly was elected on Sunday. That body will now rewrite Venezuelas constitution to give Maduro sweeping new executive powers that critics call a dictatorship.

True to his word, Maduro had police round up Venezuelan opposition leaders Leopoldo Lpez and Antonio Ledezma. Both were reportedly sent to prison in Caracas.

It was a chilling reminder of what most of the international community expects to come in Venezuela: a one-party, Cuba-style regime. And as if to remind the world what that means, Cuban leader Ral Castro weighed in hours later with an authoritarian crackdown in his own country.

Cubas communist government announced its suspending new licenses for many businesses in the islands fledgling private sector. Analysts say thats largely because the regime fears free enterprise has gotten too big and independent in Cuba and therefore a political threat.

Castro officials had already begun closing down some businesses in recent weeks for supposedly violating government regulations - or, as many Cuba watchers suggested, for being too successful.

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Caribbean Crackdowns: A Really Bad Week For Democracy, Free Enterprise - WLRN

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