Yesterday, we wondered if the protests in Egypt could spur similar strife in Venezuela. Today, Marco Rubio seemed to have subtlety urged on the idea by releasing a statement saying, "Today's events should hearten those struggling for greater freedom and respect for human rights in our own Hemisphere."
Yet, the only political violence going on in Venezuela today appears to be between lawmakers, as a giant melee broke out during a session of the National Assembly. Here's the video:
Alfonso Marquina, an opposition lawmaker, took to the podium to denounce the presence of a loud group of pro-Hugo Chavez supporters. Henry Villanueva, a Chavez supporter, came up to confront him and a physical shoving match broke out. Marquina claims that Villanueva started it, but it's hard to tell from the video.
In elections last year, opposition lawmakers won about 50 percent of the popular vote, but thanks to some gerrymandering only took about 40 percent of the seats. Just to hedge his bets, Chavez passed a law before the new assembly was seated that gave him authority to essentially bypass that body.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.