Michael Shifter: “I think there could be a military coup in Venezuela”

CEBRI / Youtube

Michael Shifter sat down with CEBRI to discuss the major political issues in the region, including the crisis in Venezuela, the Central American migration crisis, and the rise of populism in Latin America.

Comments by Michael Shifter: 

On Venezuela

“In the short term, unfortunately, I don’t see any resolution, which is tragic, because so many Venezuelans have left. I think they are going to leave at an accelerated pace by the end of this year, so I don’t, even under the most optimistic scenario, [think] that the flood of refugees and migrants is going to slow down very much.”

“Venezuela eventually will have some sort of negotiation. Who that is going to be with is unclear, but there has to be a deal that’s going to be reached, clearly with the military, and with other political forces, with the opposition forces. There will have to be guarantees to the military; a lot of these people are very much involved in criminal activity and drug trafficking and the like, and yet they’re not going to leave and give up power unless they have some protections.”

“I think there could be a military coup, I wouldn’t be surprised if that happened. Then we’ll see what kind of military government there is. But my guess is that in the short-term Maduro is in a pretty secure position.”

On the Migration Crisis

“In the long-term, a sustainable solution is to invest in the three main sending countries, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, that are obviously very troubled [with] tremendous violence and lack of economic opportunity.”

“There are a lot of other things that the United States can do on migration: just get more asylum officers to the border. There are other  good options, but one way not to do it is to impose tariffs on Mexico.”

On the Rise of Populism

“The main changes have been the rise of populism, which is the rejection of the political class. That, I think, started a long time ago but that has accelerated today. I think that all the polls show that there is tremendous disgust and disdain for the political class.”

“Both Lopez Obrador and Bolsonaro are a product of the rejection of most Mexicans and Brazilians to the status quo and a desire for change. We’re seeing it in other countries as well, and that is a real test and a challenge for politicians and for governments to respond.”

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See the full interview here: