Monday, June 13, 2016

No Venezuela Recall This Year

Given how high the stakes are and how likely it is he would lose, Nicolás Maduro says no recall referendum will happen this year. For a reminder, here is my post about the timing. What that means is that a Chavista will remain in power (it would be the VP if Maduro lost) and the economic can gets kicked down the road. Staying in office until 2018 was central to the government's offer to the opposition, which was rejected.

The risk of that strategy is that people are starting to protest and loot. If at some point Maduro feels the need to get the military involved, he faces the potential of military backlash. The same goes for VP Aristobulo Isturiz if he were to take over.

Negotiations failed. The OAS effort failed. The recall referendum will not prompt new elections. Oil prices remain low so there will be no infusion of cash. Inflation is triple digits and may soar over 700% this year. The currency is a disaster.

Where is this heading?


shah8 3:32 PM  

I strongly suspect that the military is on Maduro's side, more or less, according to individual officer preference.

Leopoldo Lopez is no more an option to them than Cruz or Trump is to the US.

*As outsiders*, I strongly emphasize the need to deescalate the political situation. If we're fueling polarization, then let's stop that, because we're killing golden geese here, as the huge fall in oil production shows. Let's show a little more respect for sovereignty, and support our vision of Venezuela or the repair of which, through opposition politicians who will actually engage with the Venezuelan public and public institutions like the civil service and army, instead of people who just want us to install them in power just 'cause they white and credentialed like Ricardo Hausman.

Greg Weeks 1:19 PM  

The question is how?

shah8 9:39 PM  

I dunno. My estimate is that this is all sunk damages. The time to really have done anything about this was have a real strategy 2008-2010.

The big issue is preserving as much as the state as exist so as to keep turning things over without stuff blowing up. Focusing on recalls and new elections doesn't really work as an actual strategy. It takes too long, for one. The other is that it'd be easy for certain people to conclude that this is the worse it'll get in the meantime, and decide to wait out everyone, despite the damage to people, politics, and country. Go Mugabe if they have to.

I'd think the optimal thing here is to focus on getting some sort of agreement to get Maduro, at least, to step down. Bribe who we have to, assure safe retirement, etc. But find someone who can get others to *mind* and restore some sort of policy discipline, and assist with delivering basic goods and repair parts, and some sort of heroic plan to deal with the constant pilferage. These are all tall orders.

And then, in the background, there is the long term Latin American productivity crisis that requires restructuring current elites would hate and obstruct...

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