WASHINGTON — Venezuela is still split between the socialist allies and supporters of current President Nicolas Maduro, a devotee of Hugo Chavez, and the opposition split between Leopoldo Lopez and Henrique Capriles.
Reuters reported that Capriles, who barely lost the last presidential election to Maduro, is now joined by fellow opposition lawmaker Leopoldo Lopez and his allies.
Capriles and the opposition protested the election results in the last presidential election, which was one of the closest in recent history. But, the pro-Maduro vote council said that Maduro had won the election and did not order a recount.
Maduro blamed the protests against his government on the U.S., and promptly expelled three American consulate officials.
Lopez has now surrendered to the Venezuelan government, but told his supporters to keep protesting and rallying against the Maduro government. Capriles has not been an advocate of widespread protests, but Lopez’s supporters have been more adamant and vocal about their opposition and grievances against Maduro.
Venezuela has seen food shortages as well as shortages of toilet paper and wine for Catholic Communion under Maduro. Crime has risen sharply under Maduro and the country is facing a significant internal political crisis. Now the pope of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, has urged both sides to reach a peaceful agreement.