Thursday, April 21, 2016

Political and Economic Disaster of Venezuela

David Smilde looks at the political and economic disaster of Venezuela. He echoes a common sentiment, which is that even after winning elections the opposition simply cannot get its act together. There is no unified voice, coordination, vision, plan, etc., which means limited ability to mobilize supporters in an effective way. As a result, the economy is falling apart yet the opposition is on its heels.

The opposition seems to be counting on the economic and electricity emergencies leading to a crisis of governance that will bring the Maduro government down. However, Chavismo still has considerable institutional strength and seems intent on making change look impossible by styming opposition initiatives. It is not unlikely that they will try to further reduce the National Assembly’s power in the coming months. 
But the real losers from this stalemate are the Venezuelan people who now more than ever need politicians that represent their interests. When asked, 90% of Venezuelans think the relationship between the opposition and the Maduro government will continue to be one of conflict. But incredibly, when asked what kind of relationship they would like to see, 85% each of: government supporters, government opponents and independents, suggested they would like to see cooperation to resolve Venezuela’s problems. This suggests that what we are seeing more than anything else in Venezuela is a crisis of representation, as two sides struggle for power, instead of collaborating to resolve the problems affecting average citizens. 

The average Venezuelan is losing, and that's the real tragedy.


shah8 10:55 PM  

I've been perpetually frustrated with Western public intellectuals on the topic of Venezuela. The key issue, especially post-2008, has been a consistent support, moral, financial, whatever, of the most idiotic and revanchist elements of the opposition, who can barely admit to democracy, let alone busy themselves by going out and campaigning outside of Caracas. As a result, we see escapades like the La Salida public actions that alienates people, and nobody has very high expectations of them. Had Machado and Lopez been cut off at the knees, Capriles probably would be in charge now, not that he'd do that much better than the Chavistas--problems aren't with policies, ridiculous as they are, but an intense, low-level corruption and horrific levels of oil curse dynamics. Heck, high level corruption too. But political competition would almost certainly have meant that whoever is in charge would have more incentive to at least be sane. Instead of more macho the the next guy antics.

Greg Weeks 11:10 AM  

I'm not sure I agree. The opposition has been criticized on an almost constant basis by U.S. observers for its inability to organize, unite, offer a positive message, etc.

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