Venezuela’s economy, society, politics and institutions are in free fall. President Nicolás Maduro’s current term ends on January 10, and his scheduled inauguration that day for another term is based on a flawed election considered illegitimate by a majority of Venezuelans and by most North American, South American, and European governments.
Pressures mount in Washington and elsewhere to help find a way out of Venezuela’s morass, but there clearly are no easy solutions. Venezuela is deeply polarized, with 20 percent of the population still supporting a beleaguered government that has dug in, protected by its military and intelligence services, coached by Cuban and perhaps other security advisers. Most Venezuelans oppose the government, but their political leadership is fragmented and ineffective.
Abraham F. Lowenthal was the founding president of the Pacific Council and founding director of the Wilson Center’s Latin American Program and the Inter-American Dialogue, and currently serves as professor emeritus at the University of Southern California.
David Smilde is the Charles A. and Leo M. Favrot Professor of Human Relations at Tulane University and a senior fellow at the Washington Office on Latin America.
This article was originally published by The Hill.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Pacific Council.