Thursday, February 13, 2014

Venezuelan Protests

I'm quoted in this Bloomberg story about the protests and violence in Venezuela. My quote comes out sounding very categorical, but it is what I think at the moment, namely that it's premature to talk of a coup or regime change. To talk about anything like that we need some sort of sign that the Venezuelan military--or parts of it--are shifting against Nicolás Maduro.

Chávez worked for years after 2002 to make sure the military was with him, and coups are rare in any event. My argument was that even to start talking in these terms, the protests would have to be sustained and spread. Maduro, unlike Chávez, is not a military man so no one knows exactly how deep the reservoir of good will ultimately will be.

The opposition wants "la salida," but we're not there yet. The best thing to do is watch the military, to the extent that it's possible. That's where coups happen or not.

Update: I forgot to include something I had put on Twitter yesterday, which was that the Venezuelan government's references to the protests were that the streets of Caracas were filled with "happiness." It's not clear who they figure to convince of this.


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