In Caracas, International Crisis Group asked government officials, opposition activists and political analysts alike to speak to camera about their views on how to resolve Venezuela's catastrophic political and humanitarian crisis.
Govt continued “National Dialogue” with minor opposition parties following Sept collapse of Norwegian-backed talks with main opposition, resuming participation in National Assembly (AN) ahead of elections due 2020, releasing some political prisoners and offering to negotiate changes to electoral authority. However, opposition dismissed initiative, with opposition MPs saying ruling-United Socialist Party of Venezuela and its allies (Patria Para Todos and Communist Party of Venezuela) had made no efforts to promote an agreement in parliament. Political violence continued; body of opposition political activist Edmundo Rada, a member of opposition leader Juan Guaidó’s Voluntad Popular party, found burnt and shot 18 Oct in outskirts of Caracas; Rada had been under police special forces’ surveillance; party leaders said they interpreted murder as political message. UN Human Rights Council 17 Oct controversially elected Venezuelan govt as member despite opponents of its candidacy arguing govt’s human rights record, and refusal to cooperate with Council’s fact-finding mission, made it unfit for membership. Eduardo Stein, joint special representative of UN refugee and migration agencies, said 4.5mn Venezuelans had left country since 2015, stating number could be higher when including those using illegal crossing points.
The struggle over Venezuela’s political future will likely turn on the armed forces’ disposition: the top brass could ease or thwart a move away from President Nicolás Maduro. Sponsors of transition talks should include military representatives in the discussions sooner rather than later.
The UN General Assembly kicks off on 17 September amid general scepticism about the world body’s effectiveness in an era of rising great-power competition. But the UN is far from paralysed. Here are seven crisis spots where it can make a positive difference for peace.
A discreet Norwegian diplomatic effort represents the best hope for breaking Venezuela's political deadlock. To stop the country’s slide into humanitarian and economic catastrophe, pragmatic backers of both government and opposition should put aside empty hopes of outright victory and support a negotiated settlement.
In recent years Venezuela’s political and economic implosion has become a major headache for much of Latin America. Regional governments should seek to find common ground and coordinate their efforts with the EU’s International Contact Group to push for a negotiated transition.
Across swathes of southern Venezuela, army units, Colombian guerrillas and crime syndicates jostle for control over gold mines funnelling hard currency to President Nicolás Maduro’s government. Outside powers should stop considering military intervention and instead help broker a peaceful transition in Venezuela, lest chaos ensue.
As Venezuela’s socio-economic woes deepen, so do the fissures in the opposition to President Nicolás Maduro’s government. Bridging these rifts is vital if the country’s crisis is to end through a negotiated transition. Outside powers should back opposition unity and stop hinting at military intervention.
Maduro is essentially calling Trump’s bluff. Maduro has essentially concluded that the military option is a very remote possibility.
The Maduro team doesn’t want to talk to [the opposition] and doesn’t trust them. They think they will all end up in jail or strung up from lampposts.
[Miners in Venezuela] are severely at risk of being shot dead: Mining communities have phenomenally high homicide rates, even by the extraordinary high levels that we see in the rest of Venezuela.
People [in Venezuela] are moving to the countryside because you can more or less survive if you have a small plot of land and access to your own produce.
Increased prices can be charged to [Venezuelan] migrants because of their sheer desire to cross [the border to reach Colombia].
The prognosis [for Venezuela in] 2018 is further deterioration, humanitarian emergency, and an increased exodus of Venezuelans. Sustained domestic and international pressure will be required.
The frontier between Brazil and its crisis-ridden neighbour Venezuela has become a major migration route, a hotspot for crime and a flashpoint for violence.
The frontier between Brazil and its crisis-ridden neighbour Venezuela has become a major migration route, a hotspot for crime and a flashpoint for violence. This is the first of three commentaries on Venezuela’s troubled borderlands.
Originally published in Foreign Affairs