Venezuela’s Unending Ordeal

Venezuela is descending ever deeper into violence, with street protests spreading rapidly across the country and President Nicolás Maduro’s efforts to suppress them becoming increasingly brutal. Unfortunately, there are no upcoming elections that might resolve the worsening power struggle – and no outside actors willing to intervene.

BOGOTA – Venezuela is descending ever deeper into violence, with street protests spreading rapidly across the country. President Nicolás Maduro’s government appears to be losing control – using both a strong hand against protesters and a timid attempt to begin a dialogue with political rivals – while the opposition is divided and appears incapable of taking power. Since the current crisis began in February, more than 40 people have died, roughly 650 have been injured, and some 2,000 have been detained.

Meanwhile, Venezuela’s inflation rate is the highest in the world, basic goods are in short supply, and street crime has reached unprecedented levels. And, rather than address these issues, Maduro – who has just completed his first year in office – has denounced the protests as part of an attempted coup.

Maduro’s party controls all three branches of government and most of the major domestic media outlets, and there are no upcoming elections that might break the deadlock and resolve the worsening power struggle. Though there are signs of discontent in the armed forces, the coup scenario seems far-fetched – and certainly hard to prove.

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