Once the wealthiest country in Latin America thanks to hefty oil revenues, Venezuela has become a country with extreme inflation, massive shortages of the most basic goods, and a dissolving sense of democracy and rule of law.
In a briefing titled "Venezuela's Post-Chavez Torment" for the UK's prominent International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) and their subscription briefing series, "IISS Strategic Comments," Professor of Political Science Russell Crandall and Savannah Haeger '16 address the root causes of and outlook for the volatile Venezuelan situation.
Crandall and Haeger present the crisis as economic mismanagement combined with rising civil unrest, fueled by President Nicolas Maduro's suppression of political expression and manipulation of constitutional procedures.
A recall referendum process to remove Maduro from office began earlier this year, but stalling tactics threaten to push the vote back into 2017. Such a delay would ensure that the current vice president would take over the presidency instead of holding a replacement election, which would be a de facto victory for the current administration. Without a recall election, "Maduro himself would remain in power until presidential elections in 2019–a scenario that would practically guarantee escalated civil unrest and economic problems," according to Crandall and Haeger.
"Maduro's removal from office by way of a recall election would not be a panacea," they write, "But little progress appears possible without it."
Crandall and Haeger's briefing is available for purchase and digital download on the IISS website.