We’ve seen this before. When Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro is challenged he either jails his opponents on trumped-up charges or forbids them from running for office. He’s now done the latter to Juan Guaido, the man recognized by the U.S. and much of the world as the legitimate leader of the country:

The Venezuelan government said opposition leader Juan Guaido would be barred from public office for 15 years on Thursday, as it seeks to crack down on the U.S.-backed rival to President Nicolas Maduro…

In February, Venezuela’s state comptroller, Elvis Amoroso, launched an audit of Guaido for allegedly lying on his personal financial disclosures and receiving funds from unauthorized sources.

In a Thursday state television address, Amoroso said Guaido had not explained the source of funds he used to pay for foreign trips he took since joining the assembly.

Amoroso said his office had decided to bar Guaido from public office for up to 15 years, the maximum for public servants who commit irregularities.

It’s lucky for Maduro that he hasn’t been involved in any “irregularities” otherwise I’m sure the government would crack down on him too. Okay, not really but the presumption that this isn’t a dictatorship is certainly amusing. Meanwhile, opposition leader Leopoldo López, who was accused of vague crimes and convicted in a show trial, has been locked in prison since 2014. Anyone who opposes Maduro is ruled illegitimate.

Meanwhile, there was another massive blackout in Venezuela this week. Naturally, Maduro did what he always does when something goes wrong: Blame America. In this case, he said the blackout was a terrorist attack caused by President Trump:

“This is a total war,” Venezuela’s authoritarian leader added. “Since they can’t invade the country … they have decided to damage, damage, damage.”

Experts believe the crippling power failures – which have continued to blight Venezuela this week after a historic six-day outage early this month – are a consequence of years of underinvestment and corruption.

“There is an electrical war being waged against Venezuela, but it is by the Maduro government,” said José Aguilar, a Venezuelan energy consultant.

Maduro alleged the “brutal terrorist attack” had been masterminded by Donald Trump and his “diabolical puppet”, Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader who most western governments now recognize as Venezuela’s interim president.

“It was an enemy bombardment – and you can be certain Donald Trump had a hand in this … Donald Trump is obsessed with Venezuela.”

In fact, it’s Russia that has flown soldiers and tons of military supplies to the country, not America. There is an invasion happening but not by the U.S.