5 reasons why Venezuela’s nightmare could get worse

Por Andrea Oesner y federico Merke

5 reasons why Venezuela’s nightmare could get worse

“It’s time for a coup in Venezuela.”

That statement appeared in Foreign Policy magazine on June 5, two weeks after Nicolás Maduro was re-elected as Venezuela’s president on May 20 in an election widely considered to be rigged.

José R. Cárdenas, the former Bush administration official who wrote it, argued that “the United States and its allies should lay the groundwork” for overthrowing Maduro because “nearly two decades of creeping authoritarianism and large-scale economic mismanagement have taken a staggering toll on Venezuelans.”

Venezuelans have endured acute shortages of food, medicine and other basic necessities since 2015, thanks in large part to Maduro’s mishandling of an economic crisis originally triggered by a drop in global oil prices.

Other responses to Maduro’s re-election were equally strong, if less extreme.

The United States and Europe tightened economic sanctions on the South American country, though they have so far stopped short of crippling the country entirely by sanctioning oil exports.

How long can a cash-strapped rogue regime facing international condemnation and humanitarian crisis survive?

Our international relations analysis of Venezuela reveals five reasons why Maduro may hang onto power for quite a while.

1. Money

Low international oil prices and political instability have dramatically reduced Venezuela’s revenues since Maduro took power in 2012. His country is effectively bankrupt.

Yet Maduro still commands more than enough state resources to avoid a coup. For years, the president has purchased the loyalty of Venezuela’s armed forces by giving the military loans and control over state-run enterprises.

The Ministry of Defense is now in charge of importing, producing, selling and distributing all food in Venezuela, for example. And in a country where people are starving, says retired Gen. Cliver Alcalá, the black market of “food is now a better business than drugs.”

Maduro has also stacked his cabinet with generals, personally investing them in his government’s survival. Currently, they lead nine of 33 national ministries.

Military officers suspected of plotting against Maduro have been jailed and tortured.


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Miércoles, Agosto 1, 2018