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Venezuelan commandos patrol the Antimano neighborhood of Caracas Venezuelan commandos patrol the Antimano neighborhood of Caracas, Jan. 29, 2019 (AP photo by Rodrigo Abd).

Armed Gangs and Warlords Are Taking Over Venezuela

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Venezuela’s authoritarian president, Nicolas Maduro, has managed to stay in power for eight years despite remaining profoundly unpopular, overseeing a spectacular economic collapse and facing years of opposition efforts to dislodge him. There’s little doubt Maduro has outplayed his opponents, and yet, his hold on the country is more tenuous than it seems.

The democratic opposition has indeed failed to remove him. But under Maduro, Venezuela is increasingly becoming a land of militias, warlords and criminal gangs. As they gradually divide the country into fiefdoms, the state’s footprint is steadily shrinking. The government’s sway beyond the capital city is significantly less than one might expect in a country whose regime has monopolized political power. ...

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