Venezuela’s Political Paralysis

Since the April 14th presidential elections, Venezuela has been in a state of political paralysis not seen since 2002-2003.  The narrow victory by President Nicolas Maduro over Henrique Capriles has led to extreme polarization – Capriles has challenged the election in Courts and has called Maduro’s government illegitimate, while Maduro has blamed Capriles for the post-election violence in the country, and threatened him with incarceration. Fighting has occurred within the National Assembly, in which members of the opposition were attacked by officialist members.

The opposition’s continuous resistance and a recent recording that discusses deep divisions with the officialist camp have caused major problems for the government. Similarly, the economic situation provides another obstacle. The Bolivar’s devaluation and the slowdown of economic growth have continued and even worsened with massive shortages of basic goods. In fact, early last week the National Assembly approved a $79 million credit to import toilet paper, toothpaste, and soap. Maduro and the government claim that the the shortage is a conspiracy by the opposition, while the opposition has blamed price controls on goods for the imbalances and the shortages. Similarly citizen security continues to be a to be a problem, escalating to the point where Maduro has sent the Army into the streets to fight insecurity.

What will happen next is hard to say. Capriles and the opposition have mounted a relatively successful resistance, although it near impossible to see the Supreme Court (Tribunal Supremo de Justicia) annulling the election and calling for new ones given its pro-officialist stance. A clear example is the recent auditing by the Electoral Council (Consejo Nacional Electoral – CNE). The CNE agreed to audit some of the electoral boxes, presumably due to pressure put on Maduro by the Colombian and Brazilian governments. Despite this, the CNE has stated that there were minor errors and that the electoral result stands.

Similarly, the conflict-like stance by Maduro and the officialists will not continue. Relaxation is already being seen, with Diosdado Cabello, the president of the National Assembly, giving opposition members of the Assembly the right to speak once again. Similarly, during an interview in Brasilia, Maduro stated that he was willing to open dialogue with Capriles.

Internationally, Latin America has continued its support for Maduro, although the calls for dialogue have increased. As previously stated, Colombia and Brazil have played a role in pressuring Maduro in ending his aggressive stance. In another move to end the political crisis, Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota said that Brazil will be hiring 6,000 doctors from Cuba to improve health services deep inside Brazilian territory. This can be seen as a move by Brazil to provide Raul Castro with a source of revenue and in return to allow flexibility within Venezuela. Finally, in a rare move, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua has said that the government is ready to resume diplomatic relations at the highest level (ambassador) with the United States.

All of this suggests that dialogue between the officialists and the opposition is possible. Maduro and Capriles could meet and end the current crisis.  Although this is what Venezuela is in need of, there must be the political will to compromise. Until then, the country will remain in a state of political paralysis and economic recession.

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About laf226

Candidate for a Masters of Public Administration 2014 - Cornell University Bacherlor's of Arts 2012 - University of California, Berkeley
This entry was posted in Brazil, Colombia, USA, Venezuela and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Venezuela’s Political Paralysis

  1. Carmela Bersi says:

    Primero que nada, me defino como Nini (Ni para uno, ni para el otro bando), en realidad con tendencia hacia la derecha,. Yo misma me inicié polítiamente hablando, desde las arenas chavistas, y cansada de tantos atropellos, y de ver que mi país se cae a pedazos, me cambié de bando político. Es imposible que no me cuenta del desastre que se viene….

    Sinceramente, no veo posible un diálogo entre Maduro y Capriles que logre neutralizar la crisis.. No creo que la población, que se autodefine como opositora, esté dispuesta a ver a su lider ponerse rodilla en tierra y claudicar ante los rojos, dejando a quien consideran como un ilegitimo quedarse mandando por los siglos de los siglos. Es importante señalar, que quien esté en el gobierno, es capaz de manejar todos los poderes del Estado, incluyendo el electoral….
    Recuerda algo importante, Maduro no es Chávez. Queramos o no acaptarlo, Chávez era un verdadero animal político, capaz de tener a las masas sujetas en sus manos , sin el mayor esfuerzo.
    A nivel del chavismo se pueden observar los siguientes puntos: un sistema político debilitado, carente de elementos axiológicos y epistemológicos, capaces de mantenerlo y reproducirlo por años. El debilitamiento del poder adquisitivo de la población en general, quien mes a mes debe luchar con una inflación galopante. La corrupción desmedida de los jerarcas del PSUV , de acuerdo con las grabaciones de Mario Silva, la falta de liderazgo y carisma por parte del heredero (Maduro), y por último, el paso del tiempo, que es un enemigo inexorable, y que poco a poco diluye la imagen y el mensaje del patriarca del Chavismo,
    Me parece preocupante la aparición de los saqueos espontáneos de camiones con comida, esas señales son nefastas, ya que pueden ser el abre boca de algo más.
    Sobre la oposición, considero que todavía falta fortaleza, y concierto. Enrique Capriles ha mejorado mucho, pero todavía pienso que faltan más cosas. Por lo menos es más fuerte que Maduro. Mucha gente piensa que capriles se quemó al lanzarse al ruedo en las elecciones presidenciales de abril, yo pienso lo ocntrio. De no haberlo hecho habría muerto políticamente, ya que la oposición solo se reconoce en armonía al rededor de el. Lo malo de esto, es que estarían cometiendo el mismo error político de los chavistas.. En política es necesario crear delfines…

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