Venezuela

Venezuela is in the midst of a tense political standoff and socio-economic meltdown, with hyperinflation, violent crime, political repression and food shortages pushing nearly six million citizens to flee the country. Incumbent President Nicolás Maduro has grabbed power for the executive and dismantled democratic checks and balances, triggering moves backed by the U.S. and allies to unseat him and install an interim president. A negotiated restoration of legitimate and representative state institutions as well as urgent economic reform are vital if the country is to resolve the political crisis peacefully and reduce mass emigration. Crisis Group aims to engage national, Latin American and international players to build momentum for talks, strengthen human rights protections and help restore the rule of law.

CrisisWatch Venezuela

Improved Situation

Dialogue between authorities and opposition resumed in Mexico after one year on hold as sides signed long-awaited agreement to alleviate humanitarian crisis.

Govt and opposition signed humanitarian deal during resumed Mexico talks. Govt and opposition 26 Nov re-joined Norwegian-facilitated Mexico City dialogue, suspended since Oct 2021, and signed long-awaited deal to gradually unfreeze some $3bn in Venezuelan state assets held abroad; agreement is intended to provide finance, under UN supervision, for improvements in electricity infrastructure as well as health, education and food projects, to alleviate humanitarian crisis. UN Sec-Gen Guterres 27 Nov welcomed agreement and called on parties to “remain fully engaged” in negotiations. Going forward, discussions expected to centre around resolution of underlying political conflict. U.S. 26 Nov responded to advances in negotiations by exempting oil company Chevron from sanctions, allowing it to expand oil production and sell it on U.S. market. Oil Minister Tareck El Aissami 29 Nov announced govt had signed contracts with Chevron.

Preparation for opposition primaries continued. Opposition alliance Unitary Platform 15 Nov installed commission charged with organising primaries in 2023 to select single candidate for 2024 presidential election. Commission must decide on number of contentious issues, such as whether to seek assistance from govt-controlled National Electoral Council and/or international electoral bodies, and how to ensure participation of Venezuelan diaspora, which currently numbers around 7mn. Law Professor Jesús María Casal, who chairs commission, 15 Nov said it would immediately begin consultations with political parties, potential candidates and civil society.

Colombian and Venezuelan leaders pledged cooperation during Caracas meeting. As Colombian President Petro 1 Nov conducted first official visit to capital Caracas, he and President Maduro signed joint communiqué pledging cooperation in areas such as trade, border security, consular services and transport links. Meeting however failed to produce many concrete commitments. Notably, Venezuela did not agree to return to inter-American human rights system, despite Colombian govt’s indications it would, nor did communiqué mention Venezuela’s return to Andean Community trading bloc, despite Maduro’s comments to the contrary 1 Nov.

Continue reading

In The News

3 Nov 2022
[Venezuelan President Maduro] can use repression and fraud to stay in power. But I think he would far rather win a relatively clean election. NPR

Phil Gunson

Senior Analyst, Andes
18 Jul 2022
From a humanitarian, security and economic perspective the closure of the border [between Colombia and Venezuela] has been a disaster. It’s pushed migrants in the directi... Financial Times

Bram Ebus

Consultant
13 Jul 2022
There’s a lot of different centers of power in Venezuela and not all of them are aligned with Maduro or share his goal of seeing talks with the U.S. advance. AP

Phil Gunson

Senior Analyst, Andes
15 Mar 2022
Maduro no tiene la intención de traicionar a Putin, sino explorar qué réditos puede sacar de este acercamiento con Estados Unidos. El País

Mariano de Alba

Senior Advocacy Advisor
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

Latest Updates

Our People

Mariano de Alba

Senior Advocacy Advisor
Mariano de Alba

Phil Gunson

Senior Analyst, Andes
Phil Gunson

Subscribe to Crisis Group’s Email Updates

Receive the best source of conflict analysis right in your inbox.