Whenever something big goes down in Venezuela I can count on a call from Ian Masters of Background Briefing. He’s got a great sense of the issues and what’s important. In this interview we talk about how to make sense …
David Smilde, curator of the blog, is a WOLA Senior Fellow and the Charles A. and Leo M. Favrot Professor of Human Relations at Tulane University. He has lived in or worked on Venezuela since 1992. Professor Smilde has researched Venezuela for the past twenty years. He has taught at the Universidad Central de Venezuela and the Universidad Católica Ándres Bello. From 2010-2012 he was the Chair of the Venezuelan Studies Section of the Latin American Studies Association. He is currently working on a book manuscript called Venezuela’s Transition to Socialism: Politics and Human Rights under Chávez, 2008-2012. He is co-editor of Venezuela's Bolivarian Democracy: Participation, Politics and Culture under Chávez (Duke 2011).
Posts by David
A multitude of voices have suggested the need for sanctions relief or international support for Venezuela, given the vulnerability of its population and health system to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, called
Disasters are always a challenge but frequently provide authoritarian governments with opportunities as the de facto power they wield suddenly becomes much more important to the population and its neighbors. Maduro has indeed been able seize the political spotlight from Juan Guaidó and gain some implicit international recognition from Colombia.
While the opposition’s top-line political strategy is street mobilization, it is simultaneously pushing to improve electoral conditions while not making any public commitments to go to legislative elections.
While corruption and organized crime are thriving amid Venezuela’s political and economic crisis, previously unpublished U.S. government drug trade monitoring data suggests that Venezuela is not a primary transit country for U.S.-bound cocaine. In “Beyond the Narcostate Narrative,” (.pdf) the …
The ever more brazen attacks on opposition concentrations and marches (see our coverage of Guaidó’s attempt to return to the legislative palace in January, and Guaidó’s return from abroad last month) would seem to be aimed at undermining Guaidó’s ability to re-mobilize the population. He has called for a new opposition march to the Legislative Palace on March 10.
The US Treasury Department sanctioned the Geneva-based Rosneft Trading SA, a subsidiary of the Russian oil giant Rosneft, for allegedly helping the Maduro government evade sanctions on Venezuela’s oil sector. The US will freeze any assets that Rosneft Trading …
The real challenge is yet to come with the need to develop a strategy to confront legislative elections this year. What is more, the political capital that Guaidó gained in meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump would seem more valuable for radical strategies of boycotting and calling for intervention, than fighting to preserve the National Assembly.
Just as important was what Trump did not say about Venezuela. He did not mention the “military option” that has so divided the Venezuelan opposition over the past two years. Nor did he mention “temporary protected status” for Venezuelans in the United States.