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Venezuela

Venezuela faces a major political, economic and social crisis, with hyperinflation, acute scarcity of food, medicine and other basic goods and one of the world’s highest murder rates. The opposition has been staging widespread protests against the increasingly totalitarian policies enacted by Maduro’s government. Dozens of demonstrators have been killed. The July 2017 election of an all-powerful Constituent Assembly closed down almost all remaining democratic spaces, sparking widespread condemnation in the region and around the world. A negotiated restoration of democracy is vital if violence is to be avoided. Crisis Group aims to engage national players and the international community to build momentum for credible negotiations. We work to encourage successful third-party facilitation, including human rights and technical assistance mechanisms, and to help restore credible democratic and judicial systems.

CrisisWatch Venezuela

Unchanged Situation

Amid deepening economic and social crisis, ongoing intransigence by President Maduro’s govt and opposition leadership vacuum, EU foreign ministers 15 Oct discussed initiative by Spain, Portugal and Italy to seek negotiated solution to crisis; Spain denied any intention to ease international pressure on Maduro. After meeting, EU foreign policy chief Mogherini said sanctions would be maintained and conditions were not right for dialogue or mediation; EU will instead examine establishing “contact group” to explore possibility of negotiated settlement. Govt 8 Oct announced death “by suicide” of Caracas city councillor and political prisoner Fernando Albán, who had been held at national security police headquarters since returning from UN General Assembly 5 Oct; official explanation of his death widely questioned, with opposition claiming death was result of torture; foreign govts and international bodies called for independent investigation into Albán’s death. Govt had accused Albán of working with exiled opposition leader Julio Borges – whom Albán met at UN – in planning Aug drone attack on President Maduro. UN refugee agency 1 Oct announced 1.9mn Venezuelans had left country since 2015. Chair of U.S. Senate foreign relations committee Bob Corker 8-10 Oct visited Caracas in ‘private initiative’ to hold talks with Maduro and some opposition figures. Colombia’s second guerrilla group National Liberation Army suspected of carrying out mass killing of at least sixteen people in Bolívar state 18 Oct (see Colombia). Russian deputy finance minister 30 Oct met with govt officials in Caracas to discuss economic reforms to tackle financial crisis.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

16 Apr 2018
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. Miami Herald

Phil Gunson

Senior Analyst, Andes
13 Mar 2018
Increased prices can be charged to [Venezuelan] migrants because of their sheer desire to cross [the border to reach Colombia]. IRIN

Ivan Briscoe

Program Director, Latin America and Caribbean
12 Jan 2018
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. Reuters

Robert Malley

President & CEO
11 Jan 2018
Venezuela is in a very, very deep economic hole. Hyperinflation is around 2,000%. Foreign reserves are well below $10 billion, and the productive economy is virtually in pieces. The World Weekly

Phil Gunson

Senior Analyst, Andes
9 Jan 2018
The [Venezuelan] military needs [President] Maduro because they would rather not rule themselves. He makes life good for them. If you are a general and play by the rules you can make a lot of money. The Guardian

Phil Gunson

Senior Analyst, Andes
8 Dec 2017
The least you can ask of [Venezuelan] opposition is that it shows up and puts up a fight. There [aren't] many instances in history where governments have been brought down by electoral boycotts. The Guardian

Phil Gunson

Senior Analyst, Andes

Latest Updates

How to Respond to Venezuela’s Humanitarian Emergency

Numbers tell the grim tale of Venezuela’s continuing slide into socio-economic ruin. With 1.6 million people fleeing the country since 2015, international donors should step up aid to neighbouring states, while concerned parties fine-tune pressure for political change in Caracas and prepare for worst-case scenarios.

Also available in Español

Watch List 2018 – First Update

Crisis Group’s first update to our Watch List 2018 includes entries on Burundi’s dangerous referendum, militant Buddhists and anti-Muslim violence in Sri Lanka, the impact of the Venezuelan crisis on the region, and the situation in Yemen. This annual early-warning report identifies conflict situations in which prompt action by the European Union and its member states would generate stronger prospects for peace.

Op-Ed / Asia

Why China Should Help Solve Venezuela’s Deepening Crisis

Originally published in Asia Times

Also available in 简体中文

Video: Containing the Shock Waves from Venezuela

Crisis Group's Andes Senior Analyst Phil Gunson explains how Venezuela’s socio-economic implosion is dragging in neighbours as hundreds of thousands of people flee the country, epidemics spread and violent crime spills over borders.

Venezuela: Hunger by Default

Economic mismanagement, corruption and dwindling reserves have forced Venezuela into penury and now into missed payments and partial default on its debts. Full-scale, internationally supervised negotiations involving a restored parliament are essential to pave the way to a debt restructuring and a free, fair presidential election.

Also available in Español

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Phil Gunson

Senior Analyst, Andes
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