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An anti-government protester in front of a burning barricade, Caracas, Venezuela, April 24, 2017 (AP photo by Ariana Cubillos).

Can a Revived Opposition Stop Venezuela’s Authoritarian Slide?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The protests and unrest that have wracked Venezuela over the past month, resulting in the deaths of at least 22 people, represent a sudden change from the malaise and passivity that had settled over the Venezuelan opposition from December to March. Through mid-March, there was a heavy sense of pessimism and fatalism on the streets of Caracas and other cities. President Nicolas Maduro’s government seemed to be consolidating its power; people were disillusioned with the opposition leadership; and the international community seemed unable to act.

A few things are behind this recent surge in opposition activity. First, Latin American countries have more fully engaged and pressured the Maduro government. This started with the discussion of Venezuela in the Organization of American States’ Permanent Council on March 28, in response to an updated report by OAS Secretary-General Luis Almagro. That discussion failed to achieve any clear resolution, which Maduro clearly saw as a victory. But it was short-lived. ...

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