When David Peralta wakes up every morning, he looks over at his phone. Then he pauses before he actually unlocks it. He dreads finding out what’s waiting for him on news apps and social media.
“It’s really not the way you’d want to wake up,” Peralta said.
The Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder is more than 3,000 miles away from his hometown of Valencia, Venezuela, but his attention remains on the place where his family and friends still live — and where a nation of 31.1 million people has been thrown into disarray.
The recent struggles in Venezuela – a violent culmination of decades-long turmoil — dates to 2015 when the opposition to Hugo Chavez’s successor, socialist president Nicolás Maduro, scored a massive election victory to control the National Assembly legislature. Maduro, who continued the policies that marked Chavez’s brutal 14-year reign, responded with a move to seize power through The Supreme Tribunal of Justice, a body stacked by the previous legislature in his favor. It has obstructed the legislature’s attempts at reform and is calling for a July 30 vote to assemble a committee to rewrite the constitution.
The opposition views that vote — which they fear will be rigged in Maduro’s favor — as an attempt to shift the government to an autocratic dictatorship. They have taken to the streets for increasingly violent protests over the last 100 days. Nearly 100 people have been killed, and an already struggling nation faces critical…