On January 23, nationwide protests in Venezuela sent a strong message rejecting the regime led by Nicolas Maduro. Maduro’s repressive and corrupt rule has resulted in unprecedented economic, security, and humanitarian crises, with significant regional and global repercussions. Juan Guaidó, the president of Venezuela’s democratically elected National Assembly, currently commands broad-based and unified support and has been recognized as the country’s interim president by much of the international community, including the United States and most regional governments. The Trump administration has ramped up sanctions, most recently on the state-owned oil company, PDVSA. Guaidó’s immediate goal is to help alleviate the humanitarian horror and then arrange for free and fair elections. To date, however, the highest levels of Venezuela’s military remain loyal to Maduro and crackdowns on activists opposing the regime.
What are the possible scenarios facing Venezuela? Are conditions now ripe for a peaceful transition to democratic rule? How is the strategy of the National Assembly and much of the international community faring? Will Guaidó be able to continue to strengthen his leadership and hold his supporters together? Will the military switch sides and Maduro fold? Will it stick with the regime despite domestic and international pressure? Is more widespread violence, and even civil strife, possible? Will the US and possibly other governments get pulled into a conflict in Venezuela? What is the likely impact of the recently announced US oil sanctions?
To shed light on these and many other questions, we are delighted to welcome Carlos Vecchio, Chargé d’Affaires for the Interim Government of Venezuela to the United States, as well as Michael Penfold, Luis Vicente León and Risa Grais-Targow, three leading analysts. They will share their insights on the current situation and where they see things headed. Following their initial remarks in a wide-ranging conversation, we will engage the audience and have an open discussion on Venezuela’s hopeful, yet delicate, moment.
Chargé d’Affaires, Interim Government of Venezuela to the United States (@carlosvecchio)
Professor, Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Administración (IESA) (@penfold_michael)
President, Datanálisis (@luisvicenteleon)
Director, Latin America, Eurasia Group (@risaclaire)
President, Inter-American Dialogue (@MichaelShifter)