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Political tensions in Venezuela: one year on

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Since the invasion and conquest by the Spanish in the 16th century, led by Hernan Cortez and his conquistadors, the political situation in Latin America has never been particularly stable.

The current favourite example is arguably that of Venezuela; the location of a failed coup against the government of famously anti-neoliberal and anti-imperialist (in the image of his predecessor Hugo Chavez) President, Nicolas Maduro, in February of last year. In a rather ironic move, opposition leader Juan Guaidó declared himself (unelected) President of Venezuela over concerns regarding the legitimacy of Maduro’s re-election. Guaidó received the backing of many definitely-not-biased world governments which definitely had no ulterior motives related to Venezuela’s large and nationalised oil fields. Regardless, concerns were raised about the efficacy of many of Maduro’s economic policies.

However, one year on, has anything changed?

From the get-go, the attempt at regime change in Venezuela against Chavismo politics was never going to be easy

From the get-go, the attempt at regime change in Venezuela against Chavismo politics was never going to be easy. Maduro maintains the support of the armed forces, a key facet in any political revolution. Also, importantly, Maduro still reigns supreme in the eyes of the poor and rural classes to whom Chavismo was engineered to appeal to. Guaidó is the candidate of the white urban middle classes, who, despite the common perception online (these are the people with access to the internet and twitter etc.), do not accurately represent the wants of Venezuela as a whole. If anything, Chavismo is resilient, and regardless of their complaints about Maduro, Venezuelans know that the US-backed opposition does not have their best interests in mind.

The only real threat currently is the all-too-common US-imposed economic sanctions

Guaidó has struggled to make any real moves as a result of this; the popular support for his National Assembly is a media exaggeration at best. The only real threat currently is the all-too-common US-imposed economic sanctions, though these are just threats at the moment. If Maduro is to be toppled, they must provide a better alternative to the rural and working classes.

Last modified: 27th February 2020

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