Five Things You Need to Read Today

1. Viva la Revolución

“Democratic socialism” has finally achieved its usual end-state in Venezuela: mass shootings of innocent civilians by government goons.

I’ll warn you that the reporting on this has been pretty awful, and in the link I just gave, even Jake Tapper—who ought to know better—refers to Juan Guaidò as Venezuela’s “self-appointed president.” He is very specifically not self-appointed. He was chosen as president of the National Assembly by its elected members, who then voted to declare Nicolas Maduro illegitimate—the equivalent of impeachment—knowing that this would automatically make Guaidò interim president.

After months of mass protests and running street battles, Guaidò finally forced the issue on Tuesday, launching Operación Libertad and calling on Venezuelan police and military units to join him in removing Maduro from office. He gave the announcement from a Venezuelan military base, where he appeared with defecting troops and with opposition leader turned political prisoner Leopoldo Lopez, who was released from house arrest by his captors.

A lot of people, either out of sloppiness or because they have absorbed Russian propaganda, are calling this a “coup.” So definitely read this piece by Eli Lake, who explains the issue much more patiently than he probably should.

In May 2018, Maduro won a so-called election that no serious outside observer found to be free or fair. His second term began on Jan. 10, which is when Venezuela’s Supreme Court in exile ruled that Maduro had exceeded his authority by staying in power after his legitimate term in office.

The bottom line is that, after Jan. 10, a sequence of events began that ended with Guaido invoking a provision of the Venezuelan constitution that makes the leader of the National Assembly interim president when the presidency is vacated….

Guaido and his supporters are now trying to save their country from Maduro’s misrule. If the military does indeed defect this week, forcing Maduro to leave, Guaido has pledged to quickly prepare Venezuela for real elections. That’s not an anti-democratic coup. It’s a democratic rescue mission.

This is not a coup, it’s a revolution—and in this case, I say, Viva la Revolución!

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