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Police guard a polling station in Caracas, where turnout was notably low. Photo: Roman Camacho/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has a new six-year term after declaring victory in a sham election over the weekend.
Between the lines: Turnout plummeted to 46% from about 80% in previous elections despite the fact that Maduro offered cash and boxes of food to those who cast ballots. That's remarkable in a country struggling through one of the world's worst economic crises.
Harold Trinkunas, a Latin America expert at Stanford and Brookings, notes that the armed forces were tasked with election security, and ultimately "sat there looking at empty polling places all day." The rate of soldiers detained for disloyalty already has already spiked this year, Trinkunas says.
Military support is crucial, as Eurasia Group's GZERO Media noted in the most recent Signal newsletter:
But, but, but: The Venezuelan opposition remains hopelessly fractured, and didn't even seem sufficiently organized to capitalize on the low turnout, Trinkunas says.
What to watch:
The bigger picture: Faced with hyperinflation, crippling food and medicine shortages, limited electricity and an oppressive dictatorship, around 5,000 Venezuelans a day are fleeing to surrounding countries. Upwards of 1.5 million left between 2014 and 2017.
Go deeper: The new global migrant crisis is in the Americas.
"We're focused on our elections. We don't get to dictate how other countries operate. Putin has been elected in their country, and that's not something we can dictate to them, how they operate."— Sarah Sanders, March 20, on Russia's sham elections
"Venezuela’s election was a sham. America stands AGAINST dictatorship and WITH the people of Venezuela calling for free and fair elections."— Mike Pence today on Venezuela's sham elections
Pompeo lays out the plan on Iran. Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo today laid out what he called "the path forward" after President Trump's decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal.
He threatened the "strongest sanctions in history" unless Iran complies with 12 U.S. prerequisites for a new deal. The Atlantic Council's Barbara Slavin writes for Axios Expert Voices that Pompeo's strategy "has almost no chance of working."
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced yesterday that the "trade war is on hold," and around $150 billion in expected tariffs are off the table for now, Axios' Dan Primack writes.
China is considering ending its 4-decade-long policy of limiting the number of children families can have, reports Bloomberg.
The big picture, from Axios' Michael Sykes: China's birth limits have left the country with an aging population, a shortage of working-age citizens, and millions more men than women — all as the country's birth rate has declined for decades. This would be China's second shift on the policy after Beijing permitted families to have two children in 2015.
The bigger picture:
Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunzizahas won a referendum that could see him remain in power through 2034, reports the AP, in a vote the opposition says was marred by voter intimidation.
The bigger picture: “The referendum in Burundi highlights the steady erosion of term limits in recent years across central Africa. Over the past decade half a dozen countries have ignored or revoked laws limiting presidents to no more than two terms in office.”
Asylum seekers wait to illegally cross the Canada/U.S. border near Champlain, New York. Photo: Geoff Robins/AFP/Getty Images
Tens of thousands of asylum-seekers have left the U.S. for Canada over the past year, as the Trump administration continues to impose and threaten stricter immigration policies, and many are now working north of the border, the Washington Post reports.
Italy's populist coalition-in-waiting has nominated Giuseppe Conte, a law professor with no political experience, to be the next prime minister.
The markets have been rallying against Italian bonds in fear that the new government's policies will deepen Italy's fiscal crisis and harm relations with the European Union.
Lava from Hawaii's volcanic eruption. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images. Sure, it's not world news. But holy cow.
"I think if you try now to fold all those issues — ballistic missiles, Iran’s behavior, Iran’s disruptive activity in the region, nuclear activity — if you try to pull all of those into a new jumbo Iran negotiation … that seems to be what they envisage and I don’t see that being very easy to achieve in anything like a reasonable timescale."— U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on Pompeo's "Plan B"
Thanks for reading — see you Thursday evening!