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

Unchanged Situation

Colombia and Venezuela restored diplomatic relations, Mexico dialogue remained on hold, and divisions within opposition over question of primaries to elect candidate for 2024 elections persisted. After govt and incoming Colombian administration late-July agreed to reestablish diplomatic relations, Colombian President Petro 28 Aug sent new ambassador, Armando Benedetti, to Caracas, reversing outgoing Colombian President Duque’s confrontational policy toward Venezuela; President Maduro same day sent former FM Félix Plasencia as Venezuela's representative in Bogotá. Meanwhile, opposition leader Juan Guaidó 12 Aug claimed there had been “informal meetings” between opposition leadership and Petro’s govt, but said he wished Petro had not so quickly recognised Maduro’s govt, which he accused of “harbouring terrorism”. Amid restoration of relations, govt 4 Aug announced it would seek extradition of leading opposition politician Julio Borges from Colombia, whom Caracas accuses of orchestrating Aug 2018 drone explosion near Maduro during military parade. Court same day sentenced Borges’ Primero Justicia party member, Juan Requesens, to eight years in prison for involvement in same drone attack; 16 others received up to 30 years. Govt’s chief negotiator Jorge Rodríguez 9 Aug said talks with opposition could not resume until Venezuelan cargo plane, held in Argentina since early-June at Washington’s request because of suspected links to Iranian Revolutionary Guard (which remains on U.S.’ terrorism blacklist), was returned; meanwhile, opposition’s Chief Negotiator Gerardo Blyde 15 Aug said there was “very high probability” that formal Mexico talks between govt and opposition would soon resume. Opposition alliance Unitary Platform remained divided over issue of primaries to select candidate for 2024 presidential election; hardliners, including Leopoldo López of Voluntad Popular, want primaries held in early 2023, while moderates prefer end of next year, and some accuse rivals of being more interested in settling issue of opposition leadership than participating in 2024 elections.

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In The News

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

Phil Gunson

Senior Analyst, Andes

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Mariano de Alba

Senior Advocacy Advisor
Mariano de Alba

Phil Gunson

Senior Analyst, Andes
Phil Gunson