Starting today, every Saturday we’ll be sharing some of the highlights of our subscribers-only Political Risk Report with our readers.
- The Maduro administration is overwhelmed by all the fronts they have to cover right now. Apart from controlling information about the spread of COVID-19 in Venezuela, they have to deal with the materialization of threats by the U.S., and their own loose cannons—like Diosdado Cabello. Given the current international climate, Cuban advisors recommend approaching an Oslo style negotiation process.
- The government is cracking down on Juan Guaidó’s team, while the caretaker president remains in hiding. He’s aware Maduro has ordered dismantling his team to force him into negotiations, and he believes they’re ready to arrest him if he refuses. Guaidó, however, is convinced they’re in a new stage of the conflict and will refuse any offer from Maduro that doesn’t include his resignation. This stance has also created some distance between him and some of his allies in the G4.
Last week, we argued that by charging Nicolás Maduro, Diosdado Cabello, and Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino, the Trump administration was attempting to establish itself as the most important player in any solution to the Venezuelan crisis. Given what happened this week, we believe the United States’ preferred candidate for this task is Padrino. At first sight, it doesn’t make sense to call Padrino a drug trafficker, and five days later propose for this alleged drug trafficker to head the Armed Forces during the transition to democracy, especially since the U.S. has been adamant that they wouldn’t approve of any person involved in the drug trade to be part of the transition. We believe the U.S. is, in fact, sending a message: Padrino’s charges are negotiable.
To read the entire Political Risk Report, including our reading of the announced US Navy antidrug operation close to Venezuelan waters, subscribe here. The Political Risk Report is a weekly, in-depth, forward-looking assessment of the state of political conflict in Venezuela, written by researchers in Caracas working with information gathered through an extensive network of contacts both inside the government and the opposition.