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MADURO ON THE OFFENSIVE?

MADURO ON THE OFFENSIVE?

Despite a deepening humanitarian crisis, a recent nationwide blackout, ongoing opposition protests, and tight international sanctions, Venezuela's strongman President Nicolás Maduro remains, however improbably, in power. The army brass has so far stuck with him, and he continues to count on the external support of China, Turkey, and Russia. Over the weekend, Russia reportedly sent nearly 100 troops to Venezuela.

Now it appears that after several weeks of more or less ignoring opposition leader Juan Guaidó – whose claim to the presidency is supported by more than 50 countries – Maduro is going on the offensive.


Last Friday, Maduro's security services arrested Guaidó's chief of staff, eliciting a barrage of international condemnation, but little substantive response from the US, Canada, and other countries that back the opposition.

After all what can they do? Severe sanctions against the ruling clique are already in place. A military response is still "on the table," but hardly seems like a realistic option right now. And that may have been Maduro's point: to undermine Guaidó by calling his supporters' bluff.

Still, while Maduro is clinging to power, it's not clear what his real game plan is. He seems to have little inclination or capacity to address the catastrophic humanitarian crisis that his policies have inflicted on Venezuela. Refugees continue to flee.

Assuming Maduro thinks he can hang on, what's the next move?

The clear signal: Neither side has great options right now, but a stalemate at this point probably helps Maduro more than Guaidó.

Pop quiz: what percentage of plastic currently gets recycled worldwide? Watch this video in Eni's Energy Shot series to find out and learn what needs to be done to prevent plastic from ending up in our oceans. Plastic is a precious resource that should be valued, not wasted.

Ten years ago this week, a powerful earthquake off the coast of eastern Japan triggered a tsunami that destroyed the Fukushima nuclear plant, resulting in the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986. A decade and dozens of decommissioned reactors later, nuclear energy still supplies about 10 percent of global electricity, but its future remains uncertain amid post-Fukushima safety concerns.

As more countries pledge to curb emissions to mitigate climate change, nuclear could serve as a clean(ish) and reliable source of energy. But investing more in nuclear comes with tradeoffs.

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This Monday, March 8, is International Women's Day, a holiday with roots in a protest led by the Russian feminist Alexandra Kollontai that helped topple the czar of Russia in 1917. More than a hundred years later, amid a global pandemic that has affected women with particular fury, there are dozens of women-led protests and social movements reshaping politics around the globe. Here we take a look at a few key ones to watch this year.

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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hey everybody. Ian Bremmer here. Welcome to your week, life looking better every day in the United States, coronavirus land. But I thought I'd talk about, this week, all of this cancel culture that everyone's talking about right now. If you're on the wrong political side, your opponents are trying to shut you down and you take massive umbrage. I see this everywhere, and it's starting to annoy.

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"Apocalyptic" protests in Senegal: At least five people have been killed in clashes with police as protests over poverty, unemployment, and the jailing of a popular politician rock the West African nation of Senegal. Ousmane Sonko, who heads the opposition Movement to Defend Democracy (M2D) and is considered the most viable challenger to current president Mackie Sall, was accused of rape in February and arrested last week. Sonko says the charges are a politically motivated attempt to remove him from politics before the 2024 presidential election. His supporters immediately hit the streets, voicing a range of grievances including joblessness and poverty. Though youth unemployment has fallen over the past decade, it still exceeds eight percent and close to two-thirds of the country's 16 million people are under the age of 25. As Sonko supporters pledge to continue protests this week, Senegal's head of conflict resolution says the country is "on the verge of apocalypse."

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The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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