Why Venezuela’s Maduro Isn’t Worse Off Than He Is

With oil prices so low for the past few months, you’d think that the Maduro government was ready to fall.

The past few months have been a nightmare for economies that rely on oil. After the coronavirus pandemic sent prices plummeting, finance ministries had to triage planned revenue, major social and infrastructure projects were put on hold or aborted altogether, and the public started to lose its temper. All available evidence would suggest that oil-dependent Venezuela is, once again, on the brink of collapse. Yet President Nicolas Maduro finds himself in a comparatively stronger position now than when oil prices collapsed in early March. Since then, he has managed to navigate through extensive U.S. actions meant to cripple the Venezuelan economy and has weathered three key external events — the pandemic, the oil crash and a farcical coup attempt involving two Americans — maintaining his power however precariously. Venezuela is strategically important to the U.S., at least within the parameters of hemispheric security and control of the Caribbean Sea, and it’s no secret that the Trump administration would like to see Maduro fall. Hence Washington’s general low-cost, low-effort policy of slowly tightening an economic vise around the country, which keeps its interests in play while waiting for the Maduro government to self-destruct or for the opposition to take over. The […]

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Allison Fedirka
Allison Fedirka is the director of analysis for Geopolitical Futures. In addition to writing analyses, she helps train new analysts, oversees the intellectual quality of analyst work and helps guide the forecasting process. Prior to joining Geopolitical Futures, Ms. Fedirka worked for Stratfor as a Latin America specialist and subsequently as the Latin America regional director. She lived in South America – primarily Argentina and Brazil – for more than seven years and, in addition to English, fluently speaks Spanish and Portuguese. Ms. Fedirka has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and international studies from Washington University in St. Louis and a master’s degree in international relations and affairs from the University of Belgrano, Argentina. Her thesis was on Brazil and Angola and south-south cooperation.