The socialist regime of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has been delaying a referendum which could remove him from office. AFP reports Maduro’s government continues to play games with the announcement as to when the referendum will proceed:

The National Electoral Council (CNE) had been due to announce the timeline Friday.

But late Thursday it said the announcement — which had already been pushed back from Tuesday — would have to wait because opposition protests were threatening the safety of its staff.

The speaker of the opposition-majority legislature, Henry Ramos Allup, accused the authorities of “sabotaging” the referendum.

“The more they delay, the angrier we get,” said one protester, 41-year-old Robert Sanchez, banging a pot with a spoon — a traditional form of protest in much of Latin America.

Reuters reports why the delay is important to the socialists:

The Democratic Unity coalition is running out of options to force a plebiscite this year to trigger a presidential election should Maduro lose. If a referendum is held in 2017 and he loses, the vice president would take over for the second half of Maduro’s six-year term, ensuring the Socialists stay in power.

Maduro, 53, has seen his popularity plummet with the failing economy and is determined to stop a referendum this year that polls show he probably would lose.

It really is that simple. By delaying the next step in the process the government can make sure the referendum is delayed long enough to prevent any real change. Meanwhile, people in Venezuela are literally starving. An independent journalist writing for Fox News Latino points out that children are now being admitted to hospitals with severe malnutrition:

Laura Montilva is 22 years old. Her 5-month-old son is one of more than 60 being treated for malnutrition at the J. M. de los Ríos Hospital, Venezuela’s main pediatric hospital.

His case is considered severe. He weighs 8.5 pounds and his mother doesn’t produce enough milk to feed him. In this country, formula is a luxury reserved for a select few…

Two out of 3 (66.15 percent) of the children admitted this year to J. M. de los Ríos are nursing babies, according to hospital records. And the consequences of this are not only dire, but irreversible.

If the socialists hang on to power, as it seems they intend to do, it’s difficult to see how this situation is going to improve. Unless the price of oil goes up sharply, Venezuela is going to continue its downward spiral.