Violence is escalating in Venezuela, killing 70 people in over two months of ever-angrier popular protests against a government that is abandoning representative democracy. Regional states should avert a humanitarian catastrophe by pressuring the Maduro regime to withdraw plans to elect a phony constituent assembly on 30 July.
CrisisWatch is a monthly early warning bulletin designed to provide a regular update on the state of the most significant situations of conflict around the world.
Revised and ratified after its shock rejection in October 2016’s referendum, Colombia’s peace agreement still lacks sustainable political support. Reversing public distrust will need swift and effective implementation of the accord – including full apologies for past crimes and the visible handover of weapons by insurgents.
With a collapsing health care system, sky-rocketing inflation and crippling state controls, Venezuela is beset by unprecedented social and economic crises. To end the root problem of political paralysis, the Chavista government and opposition must use outside-mediated negotiation to restore democratic and responsible economic governance.
To convert August’s historic peace deal into a durable end to 52 years of conflict, the government and FARC rebels must redouble efforts to achieve a full cessation of hostilities, a successful plebiscite, and UN-monitored ceasefire and weapons handover process.
Venezuela is in full-fledged crisis: food and medicine are scarce, violent crime is surging, and the government is blocking democratic ways forward. The international community and the Organization of American States should press for political dialogue, the opening of legal paths to a presidential recall referendum in 2016, and permission for humanitarian aid to enter the country.
After a crushing defeat in parliamentary elections, Venezuela’s Chavista government needs to move away from confrontation. The executive must join the new legislative majority in a cooperation pact that can lead the country from deadlock to open democracy, and save it from a looming economic and humanitarian disaster.
The election [of Venezuela's Constitutional Assembly] planned for July 30 could be a trigger point leading to a sharp escalation of violence.
For the FARC, the subject of money has always touched a nerve. If it's shown they have a lot of wealth, it adds fuel to the narrative that they are simply drug traffickers.
The more people die [in Venezuela], the more the anger grows and the more willing the [Venezuelan] government becomes to respond even more violently.
After years of using elections as plebiscites [...] the government [of Venezuela] can now [...] neither muster the electoral support nor find a convincing reason not to hold a vote.
The U.S. has a role to play in contributing to the international pressure [on Venezuela], but that is best done multilaterally, which is what we have seen so far.
[Venezuela's government exercises control] largely through force and the threat to deny government welfare benefits, including food.
Two developments are propelling Venezuela faster along a route that has already led to dozens of deaths in the last few weeks: the first is an undemocratic proposal for a new constitution; the second is increasingly isolated Venezuela’s withdrawal from the Organisation of American States.
Since Colombia ratified a revised peace accord to end the country’s long insurgency, FARC rebels have moved rapidly to ad hoc cantonment sites where they will demobilise under UN supervision. But the FARC leadership’s commitment to the deal is under pressure from disparate elements in its rank and file.
Facing social and economic collapse, Venezuela is likely to continue to be Latin America's most urgent crisis in 2017. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2017 annual early-warning report for European policy makers, Crisis Group urges the European Union and its member states to work closely with governments in the region, particularly Caribbean nations with close ties to Caracas, toward the restoration of democracy in Venezuela.
Originally published in Colombia Reports
El anuncio de la instalación de la mesa ha producido mucha expectativa, pero el tiempo para negociar parece ser muy corto y la inmadurez política que ha demostrado esta guerrilla podría complicar aún más el panorama.
Originally published in Razon Publica