The Venezuelan National Bolivarian Armed Forces (Fuerzas Armadas Nacionales Bolivarianas, FANB) are among the most politicized in the Americas. While this has helped maintain President Nicolás Maduro in power, it is damaging for both the military and citizens. Specifically, while politicization helps bolster the government’s permanence it undermines the military’s institutional legitimacy.
Exultant after the results of the election for a Constituent Assembly became public, on the late night of July 30th, president Nicolás Maduro announced the end of his regime’s benevolence towards the opposition (se acabó lo que se daba), anticipating that the process of constitutional reform will provide the occasion for chavismo to settle all scores (se cobrará toda
On July 5th, approximately a hundred Chavista activists rushed into the building of the National Assembly carrying sticks and pipes, and besieged for several hours a group of about 350 people that included national representatives, journalists, visitors and students. Five members of the assembly –the national legislative body, currently controlled by a majority of representatives of opposition parties- ended with multiple injuries.
Venezuela is an incredibly dynamic country. After several decades of stability, the country has been shaken by major political realignments, economic shifts and policy changes since El Caracazo took place in 1989. In that year, the population rose up violently in response to the government's economic reforms that included increases in the price of gasoline and transportation.
Over the last few weeks the phony trial against Venezuelan Opposition Leader Leopoldo López has been taking place. A judged ordered that López be remanded to custody–in solitary confinement, and at a military prison even though he is a civilian–for the remainder of the trial against him on charges of inciting criminal activities and arson during the opposition protests of February twelve, two thousand and fourteen.
A recent survey conducted by the Venezuelan polling firm Datánalisis reveals that the popularity of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro now stands at about 22 percent (El Universal 2014). Maduro won the presidential election in April 2013 with 50.6 percent of the vote - an extremely thin margin compared to the impressive electoral performance of his predecessor – Hugo Chavéz. Ever since, negative public assessment of Maduro is on the rise.
2015 has been a difficult year for Venezuela, with falling oil prices and a tumbling economy, inflation has risen to 100% and there are constant shortages of basic goods.2 People have been taking to the streets to protest the government and its handling of the crisis, which in many instances it refuses to acknowledge. President Nicolás Maduro, who is a member of the same socialist party as his predecessor Hugo Chávez, has not been managing the various crises well.