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CrisisWatch Venezuela

Improved Situation

President Maduro made several gestures signalling possible willingness to negotiate with rivals, including appointment of opposition members in new electoral authority. Govt-controlled National Assembly 4 May appointed new National Electoral Council (CNE), with five-person leadership including two opposition members, strongest opposition representation in 15 years – signalling Maduro’s possible openness to further concessions. New CNE divided opposition. Mainstream opposition leader Juan Guaidó same day said new CNE was creature of “illegitimate” National Assembly and would “drag country toward greater disaster”, while former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles, who heads moderate opposition politicians engaged in dialogue with Maduro, 5 May welcomed “essential first step to open the constitutional and democratic reconstruction path”. Guaidó 11 May proposed “National Salvation Accord” including timetable for “free and fair” presidential, parliamentary, regional and municipal elections, release of political prisoners and humanitarian aid access in exchange for progressive lifting of international sanctions and guarantees for current govt officials. Capriles 25 May expressed support for Guaidó’s proposal, which U.S. 11 May and EU 13 May also welcomed. CNE 13 May announced regional and municipal elections for 21 Nov. In response, Guaidó next day said opposition would not “lend itself to a farce”. Meanwhile, chief prosecutor 1 May announced charges against low-ranking govt and military officials in three high-profile political killings for which govt had hitherto denied responsibility; move came day after six imprisoned oil executives, whose freedom is sought by U.S., were released into house arrest. In Apure state near border with Colombia, low-intensity conflict continued between Venezuela’s military and dissident faction of Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) known as 10th Front, with clashes leaving at least seven soldiers injured near La Victoria municipality early May. After 10th Front 15 May released video of eight soldiers reportedly taken prisoners in Apure late April, Defence Minister Gen Padrino López same day confirmed soldiers were in guerrillas’ hands. Jesús Santrich, leader of another FARC dissident faction known as “Segunda Marquetalia”, reportedly killed 17 May in Venezuela.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

31 May 2021
Maduro is very isolated internationally. It's hard for him to trade. He can't renegotiate the massive debt that Venezuela has. So he needs some relief. NPR

Phil Gunson

Senior Analyst, Andes
7 Dec 2020
Unless he [Guaidó] is able to reinvent himself in some way, I think the Guaidó plan has clearly failed. The Guardian

Phil Gunson

Senior Analyst, Andes
11 Aug 2020
[Venezuela's] health service had collapsed long before sanctions were imposed. Foreign Policy

Phil Gunson

Senior Analyst, Andes
7 Jul 2020
[The Venezuelan Government] want[s] to make it quite clear that Guaidó is history. Minneapolis Star Tribune

Phil Gunson

Senior Analyst, Andes
12 Apr 2020
If there's mass social unrest [in Venezuela] they are not really in a position to control it and I think that's the government's nightmare scenario. BBC News

Phil Gunson

Senior Analyst, Andes
4 Apr 2020
What the [Venezuelan] regime is facing now is much more grave than they’ve ever faced before. BloombergQuint

Phil Gunson

Senior Analyst, Andes

Latest Updates

Venezuela’s Opposition Is Clinging to a Failed Strategy

Opposition politicians in Venezuela face a difficult set of choices. But the sooner they face up to them, the sooner Venezuela can begin to tackle the enormous challenges of a much-needed political transition and economic reconstruction.

Originally published in World Politics Review

Latin America’s Tough Year Ahead

This week on Hold Your Fire!, Naz Modirzadeh, Richard Atwood and Ivan Briscoe, Crisis Group’s Latin America Director, talk about COVID-19’s devastation, polarisation and populism in the region, as well as the Venezuela crisis and violence in Mexico.

Venezuela: Reassembling a Route to Peace

As Venezuela faces one of the world’s worst economic and humanitarian crises, concessions on both sides will be necessary to break the political deadlock. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2021, Crisis Group urges the EU and its member states to press for urgent access for humanitarian relief and to encourage the Maduro government and opposition parties to re-engage in negotiations.

Also available in Español
Podcast / United States

U.S. Sanctions: An Overused Foreign Policy Tool?

This week on Hold Your Fire!, Naz Modirzadeh and Richard Atwood discuss the “maximum pressure” sanctions that the U.S. has imposed upon Iran and Venezuela. Their guests are Crisis Group’s experts on these two countries, Ali Vaez and Phil Gunson.

Our People

Phil Gunson

Senior Analyst, Andes

Mariano de Alba

Senior Advocacy Advisor