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Watch List: April 19, 2017

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  • Last updated: April 21
  • Total word count: 335 words

The items listed below represent potential emerging issues that our analysts are tracking. These can be long term or short term, but will be updated daily. If an item on our Watch List becomes critical, we will email you a full analysis explaining its significance.

Each Saturday, we will follow up our daily Watch List for each week with our conclusions on these issues.

  • Venezuela: Large anti-government protests and pro-government rallies were underway in Venezuela on Wednesday. On Tuesday, President Nicolás Maduro invoked “Plan Zamora,” an initiative the armed forces presented to the president that will be used to maintain internal order in the face of potential threats of a coup. Maduro referred to it as a “special strategic civil-military plan to guarantee the functioning, security, internal order and social integration of the country.” He called for the activation of the plan’s first phase, but the total number of phases is unclear. The government is also relying on hundreds of thousands of groups – both military and civilian – to maintain order. It has made statements suggesting that the United States is behind a coup attempt supported by the president of the National Assembly.
  • Russia-North Korea: Nikkei reports that Russia plans to begin regular passenger ferry service to North Korea in May. The ferry service itself is not important, but this story brings into question Russia’s role, if it has one, in the current North Korean situation. The former Soviet Union had influence in North Korea, but China filled much of the gap that was left after the Soviet collapse. Does Russia have any interests in North Korea or any positions it can use?
  • Slovakia: Thousands of people were reportedly protesting in Slovakia on Wednesday. A spate of anti-corruption protests has occurred recently in Eastern European countries. We need to get a sense of the size of these protests. We also need to look into how they are organized and whether they have a common motivation or are just isolated cases of small-scale dissatisfaction.