The last time things in Venezuela were this unstable was back in the late 80s and early 90s, when the seed was being planted for Hugo Chavez’s eventual meteoric rise to power. The controversial leader implemented sweeping social reforms as part of the Bolivarian Revolution, which included, quite famously, nationalization of Venezuela’s oil industry and large welfare programs. From 2000, at beginning of Chavez’s first term, to 2006, the population of Venezuelans in the United States grew from 91,507 to 177,866, according to census data.
Much of that growth, of course, was concentrated in South Florida. Now, a new wave of political unrest in Venezuela is grabbing the attention of those involved in South Floridian immigration law.
Student protests have clashed with the government of President Nicolas Maduro, who was elected president last year in the wake of Chavez’s death. Since taking office, economic conditions in Venezuela have drastically deteriorated; the value of their currency has plummeted alongside shortages of goods. Protests in response mounted, and after government forces opened fire on a crowd, claiming the lives of four students, outrage was fueled even further. Just yesterday, Venezuela’s opposition leader, Leopoldo Lopez, was detained, standing accused by Maduro’s government of inciting violence.