Venezuelan Government: Stability in Instability

In this short article, opposition political scientist Leopoldo Puchi argues that the Maduro government is consolidating itself, but also that the opposition won’t accept the situation of calm for long.


In this short article, opposition political scientist and ex general secretary of the MAS, Leopoldo Puchi argues that the Maduro government is consolidating itself, but also that the opposition won’t accept the situation of calm for long. Venezuelanalysis.com thought it would be useful to translate Puchi’s article, to give readers a sense of what the some of the opposition is thinking, and because it is significant that even members of the opposition are recognising that the country has entered into a state of some stability and political acceptance of the Maduro government.

Different signs indicate that the government of Nicolas Maduro is tending to stabilise itself and consolidate itself, after the initial turbulence that followed the close electoral results and the lack of acceptance of the numbers emitted by the National Electoral Council by part of the opposition.

Of course, the points of tension are numerous in Venezuelan society and without a doubt it will be like this for many years: social demands, like those of the university teachers; disagreements with Colombia and the United States over geopolitical divergences; economic problems, due to the reduced productivity of Venezuelan companies; grave deficiencies in public services; etc. Situations and conflicts that will exist for a long time, with the current government or with a different one. For the rest, there is no defined social hegemony, but rather an equilibrium of forces. The big picture is one of stability within instability.

The push for power continues to define the agenda, which is making different analysts think, regarding the government and the opposition, that we could be facing an imminent collision. Important sectors of the opposition aren’t willing to accept this dead calm, that they consider exasperating, for long. There are disturbing facts that point in this direction, such as the presence of paramilitary groups, not just in border areas, but also in the country’s interior, as was shown in the recent arrests of various members in Portuguesa state, and the serious indicators that show their presence in the areas around Caracas.

At the same time, sectors close to Chavismo seem to be impatient because they feel that the revolution could freeze, or dissolve into less rebellious forms.

Now then, when violent plans are talked about, it’s not acceptable to put all of the opposition into the same boat. Nobody images that, for example, the candidates of the MUD in different regions, are actively committed to a strategy of this type. It’s what they are least concerned with right now, when there is an electoral contest coming up, and their councillor candidates aren’t defined, nor is there consensus around various mayoral candidates.

Even then though, the Venezuelan opposition is complex and it’s not just made up of this or that party, but rather there are important radicalised factors with a lot of influence and decision making power as well. Everything indicates that these groups have taken our neighbour, Colombia, as a logistical platform for acting on Venezuela, given the belligerence of ex-President Alvaro Uribe and the geopolitical differences between the two countries, which would facilitate such actions, even if Juan Manuel Santos isn’t directly involved.

Because of these circumstances, different analysts warn of the possibility that the country is on the point of a “conflict without remedy”. Maybe they are exaggerating, maybe they are right. But without a doubt, we have to be on the alert.

Translation by Tamara Pearson for Venezuelanalysis.com