In the past week, chavismo has started to show shades of difference regarding President Maduro, the protests and the future of Venezuela. Could this be the beginning of end and the start of a peaceful exit?
From refusals to recognize the Venezuelan elections and new sanctions from democracies around the world, to shows of support from like-minded regimes, the international community has started to react to Maduro’s consolidation of power.
President Nicolás Maduro shocked Venezuela this week when he announced he was giving exceptional powers to his Defense Minister, General Vladimir Padrino López. Was this a palace-coup by the military against a rudderless, discredited Maduro government?
A careful review of the data reveals an increase in political detention and imprisonment in Venezuela—often without trial—and illustrates the justifications the government uses to silence its opponents.
Added to the very real risk of the flow of returning Colombians and Venezuelans fleeing across the border creating a massive refugee crisis, security experts are also concerned about a possible military conflict ginned up by a wounded Maduro government.
Conspiracy theories are a standard way for populists to distract citizens and stoke up their base. But the governments in Argentina, Ecuador and—particularly—Venezuela have turned it into a real art form.
Venezuelans are having children at higher rates than their counterparts in other countries, despite the economic crisis (aided, perhaps in part, by the condom shortage). The resulting non-working, dependent population will make it increasingly difficult for the government to sustain its high levels of redistribution, even if oil prices improve. Ultimately, demographics may be what doom the Bolivarian revolution.