A Analysis

The downfall of Nicolás Maduro opening a political rebirth in Venezuela

From autocracy to the pledging of democracy as Venezuelan citizens rally against Maduro’s governance.

How have we got here?

It was since 1998 Chavez won the election using his platform of social revolution to support the poor and redistribute wealth amongst society. Seen as the ‘’man of the poor people’’ he used oil as a redemptive quality to bring about social change and use it to the centre of the Venezuela’s economic model. Throughout Chavez’s presidency, the prices of oil were priced so significantly high that Venezuela was considered to be one of the richest countries boasting with one of the largest oil reserves in the world. However, the life of Venezuelan citizens started to change once the privatisation of assets became nationalised ranging from the electricity sector, telecommunications, oil sector and many more. The wave of socialism took Venezuela off its feet into a descending economic crisis where resources plummeted rapidly.

After Chavez’s death in 2013, the issues of Venezuela due to its economic downfalls was subsequently captured even more by his chosen successor, Nicolas Maduro. Maduro inherited the legacy of oil dependency but also gained severe debt unable to buy the basic imports of medicine and food that it was doing before. From being deprived of the basic necessities, the economic crisis worsened, and Venezuela experienced a dire humanitarian crisis causing currently 3 million people to leave the country. Venezuela is now considered to hold one of the highest inflation rates in the world of a reported 10 million per cent as over 80% of citizens live in poverty.  

What is the current plight?

With Maduro evidently not sitting popular with his citizen’s, he has been accused by the international community of running an authoritarian regime oppressing Venezuelan citizens into a humanitarian crisis. In conjunction, the UN predicts that more than five million will flee Venezuela by the end of 2019 with neighbouring countries struggling to sustain more migrants. The onset of these issues has led to many violent protests and dissent against Maduro, yet this has not prevented him to win the 2018 election in the making of his second term. However, there have been many reports denouncing it as fraudulent.

With the collective roar against Maduro, this has made way for Guaidó to take stage as Venezuela enters a political rebirth. Relatively unknown in the political scene, Guaidó has backed the support of US President Donald Trump for Guaidó to act as an interim president. He is also an unprecedented leader, resting on the centre right which is unusual for the Venezuelan people to support considering their political history. Furthermore, there has been controversy surrounding the US’s involvement with Venezuela as many accuse Trump using Guaidó as a diplomatic puppet to strengthen oil ties. Maduro has not taken this lightly however, condemning the US president staging a coup against him - in January from the presidential palace he said “We’ve had enough interventionism, here we have dignity, damn it! Here is a people willing to defend this land”.

What does this mean for the future of Venezuela and Maduro? 

Whether Maduro continues in government or Guaidó takes over rests on the allegiance of the armed forces. They currently hold the authority to oversee the oil industry, mining, food distribution and other domestic everyday activities in Venezuela. So far as the protests intensify, Latin American nations such as Peru, Colombia and Brazil alongside the US recognize Guaidó as the legitimate president. Whereas China, Turkey and Russia rally in support for Maduro. Currently as the pressure mounts, the military indicates their support for Maduro as he argues against stepping down as the president.

With Venezuela at breaking point from food shortages and depleting medicines, the future does not look hopeful. The heavy debt and sanctions the US has imposed on Venezuela has led to a calamity with Venezuelan citizens and the poor governance from Maduro has consequently gave birth to Guaidó. Whilst military support remains in the hands of Maduro, it is unknown to see how long this will last as protests intensify.