“Venezuela: Strategic Posture Review” in WPR

David Smilde and Timothy Gill

On Tuesday, World Politics Review published our Strategic Posture Review of Venezuela. In it we examine Venezuela’s foreign policy and some of the Venezuelan government’s most important bilateral relationships; the Venezuelan military; and, finally, some of the Maduro Administration’s strategic priorities.

We argue that “the Venezuelan government has promoted a Third World-ist ideology that encourages the development of a multipolar world and an ‘anti-imperial’ axis of countries … [that includes] relations with Latin American countries—especially leftist regional allies, including Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua—as well as with several authoritarian countries.” We detail the government’s relations with 10 countries, including the United States, Cuba, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, Nicaragua, China, Russia, Iran, and Belarus.

In the report, we discuss the politicization of the military during the Chávez administration and its the current capabilities. In addition, we discuss the frequent conflation of the National Militia and colectivos as well as the issue of military participation in drug-trafficking and their relations with the FARC.

Finally, we conclude by discussing several challenges facing the Maduro administration, including political instability, citizen security, inflation and shortages, corruption, and deteriorating infrastructure. We argue that the December 2013 elections “will be not only a referendum on Chavismo without Chávez, but on an opposition without Chávez.”