Venezuela's political crisis is escalating fast.

With the economy in freefall, protesters have hit the streets and violence is on the rise.

Has the Venezuelan government gone authoritarian?

"It's important to say Nicolas Maduro was democratically elected," says Gabriel Hetland, a professor at the University of Albany. "But I think actions over the last 16 months have moved Venezuela unfortunately in a more authoritarian direction."

"It is a government under siege," counters Venezuelan-American journalist Eva Golinger, who also served as an adviser to former President Hugo Chavez. "The opposition doesn't play by democratic rules, unfortunately has not, and as of yet we haven't seen any such initiative or indication that they will in the near future."

In this week's Arena, Gabriel Hetland and Eva Golinger debate different perspectives on the crisis in Venezuela.

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Source: Al Jazeera News