Here's an article in Foreign Policy about the "institutional civil war" brewing in Venezuela.
Last Wednesday, Diosdado Cabello, the head of the outgoing parliament, announced the creation of a new and unelected “Communal Congress,” whose members he then invited to convene at the parliament building. Soon after, Maduro rather ominouslyfloated the idea of transferring “all power” to the new body.
Here's my question. Over the past several years, both Cabello and Maduro have made all sorts of comments that have been labeled "ominous." Perhaps the most notable was the "civil-military union" thing. But for the most part, these ominous omens have in fact been leaders flapping their traps.
There is a lot of flap trapping going on, which is pretty inexcusable for people in the highest political positions of a country. It does mean, though, that their current statements must be measured by their past flapping. I have a hard time seeing an autogolpe happening in Venezuela. The election made clear that the domestic response would be violent, and the military has little appetite for such a scenario. I doubt a shadow congress will matter, even if it actually ever exists, but transferring power to it would be an autogolpe.
No elected official should make such anti-democratic statements. Oddly enough, though, they may well be a sign of weakness rather than true threat. Maduro is not having an easy time garnering forces to effectively block the opposition, so what he has left are incessant threats, veiled or otherwise.