Editor's note

Just how long can Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro hold on to power and ignore the growing humanitarian crisis in his country? As long as he has the loyalty and support of the Venezuelan military, argues Latin America expert David Pion-Berlin of UC Riverside. Military soldiers have now reportedly been seen begging for food and joining protesters in the opposition. Pion-Berlin writes that history has shown time and again that the minute the military decides to withdraw its support of a leader, the clock on his power trip begins to count down.

With health care in limbo and uncertainty over the future of special subsidies that helped low-income people pay for health insurance, people are looking for solutions to a looming crisis. One option that’s been touted is for states to try to create their own single-payer systems. But argues Simon Haeder of West Virginia University, there are many reasons why that’s unlikely to work.

In June, Otto Warmbier, an American college student, who had gone on a tour to North Korea and been arrested, died upon his return home. Daniel B. Bitran of Holy Cross explains why people are drawn to “dark tourism” and go to places associated with disasters, acts of violence, or crimes against humanity.

Danielle Douez

Associate Editor, Politics + Society

Top story

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro (center) attends a graduation of National Armed Forces. Miraflores Palace/Handout via REUTERS

How much longer will Maduro's grip on power last? Look to the military

David Pion-Berlin, University of California, Riverside

The loyalty of Venezuela’s soldiers is getting shaky. History shows from the Arab Spring to Latin American coups, when the military withdraws support for a leader, a fall from power is imminent.

Health + Medicine

  • Why state-level single-payer health care efforts are doomed

    Simon Haeder, West Virginia University

    With Obamacare in peril and no health care plan in sight, it's logical to ask whether states could design their own single-payer health insurance plans. Efforts in California show why it's unlikely.

  • Legal weed: An accidental solution to the opioid crisis?

    Stephanie Lake, University of British Columbia; M-J Milloy, University of British Columbia

    As Canada moves towards legalization of cannabis in 2018, there is growing evidence of the drug's potential to treat opioid addiction itself, as well as the chronic pain that often drives it.

Ethics + Religion

Arts + Culture

  • How ancient cultures explained eclipses

    Roger Culver, Colorado State University

    The sun was worshiped as a deity in many cultures – and witnessing it get extinguished could be a particularly terrifying event.

Economy + Business

Science + Technology

  • FirstNet for emergency communications: 6 questions answered

    Ladimer Nagurney, University of Hartford; Anna Nagurney, University of Massachusetts Amherst

    A multibillion-dollar effort is just beginning to build an all-new nationwide wireless broadband network for emergency responders. How will it work, why do we need it and how will it last 25 years?

Environment + Energy

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Today’s interesting fact

There are an estimated 29,830 North Korean defectors are living in South Korea.


4 things to know about North and South Korea

Ji-Young Lee

American University School of International Service

Ji-Young Lee