I don’t rule out that there could be some force used to carry out his decision [to expel US diplomats in Venezuela].
Maduro will want to demonstrate that he remains in charge, even as the Trump administration undermines him with its decision Wednesday to recognize Venezuelan National Assembly Leader Juan Guaidó as the interim president.
[US diplomats in Venezuela] could be picked up and sent out of the country forcefully. I wouldn’t rule that out. It could get pretty ugly.
The military is a black box. Unless and until it makes a move, the future of Venezuela looks very grim indeed. And if it does, nobody can be sure what will come out.
Back in 2002, the [Venezuelan] opposition was dominated by pot-banging members of the bourgeoisie, but these days — a crucial difference — it cuts across all strata of society. It’s not just the middle class, it’s much broader and much deeper.
Maduro inherited an impossible situation. Although Maduro tried to continue Chávez’s controversial social programs, his government suffered from outright mismanagement and increased corruption. Criminality is prominent.
The [Maduro] regime is going to show force, and it’s been successful at intimidating the opposition and instilling fear. Under both Chávez and Maduro, they haven’t been good at governing, but they’ve been very good at dividing the opposition—that is the one thing they’ve done consistently well.
This highlights the enormous risks of having parallel governments [in Venezuela]. The situation has put the U.S. and the embassy staff in a very difficult position. If the diplomats do not leave, they could face considerable danger. Yes, it could get ugly. And yet, if they do leave, that would deflate Guaidó.
The thinking in D.C. is, Maduro is on the ropes; one final punch and he’s out.
In Washington, there is this scenario that all of this [in Venezuela] is going to end up in a transitional government and that the regime will somehow collapse. I think there has to be a bridge to get from one side of the river to the other; they’re making a leap that is not entirely clear.
The track record of Chavez and Maduro in dividing the opposition has been pretty good, but we're at a different moment now and it's very hard to know what will happen.
[Guaido] has legitimacy on his side, he has legality on his side, but he doesn't have power. The question is how does he get power.
[Juan Guaido] is a very appealing figure of the opposition. He's emerged, he was totally unknown just two weeks ago and he has emerged as a very interesting figure. Whether he is going to be the savior of Venezuela remains to be seen.
There is no doubt that this new leadership of the Brazilian government on Venezuelan issues will be well seen in the US, as this is the US priority for the region. It remains to be seen what Brazil will do about this proximity between Brasilia and Washington. So far it is not clear what the strategy of the new government is.
Não há dúvidas de que essa nova liderança do governo brasileiro em temas da Venezuela será bem vista nos EUA, pois essa é a prioridade americana para a região. Resta saber o que o Brasil fará desta proximidade entre Brasília e Washington. Até agora não está claro qual é a estratégia do novo governo.