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Venezuelan Opposition Struggles to Capitalize on Government Missteps

ISSN:1060-4189
LADB Article ID: 80272
Category/Department: Venezuela
Date: 2017-04-21
By: Andrés Gaudín

After its failed attempt last year to organize a recall vote against the government, the Venezuelan opposition, taking advantage of the support it receives in the media and from foreign political groups, decided to double down and make 2017 the year President Nicolás Maduro is finally forced out of office, come what may.The opposition kicked things off by introducing a barrage of confrontational measures in the opening session of the unicameral Asamblea Nacional (National Assembly) on Jan. 9. Availing itself of the comfortable majority it has in the legislature—the only branch of government in opposition hands—it decided to disregard the president’s authority, accuse him of abandoning his post (Maduro was temporarily out of the country), and demand that a new presidential election be held within 30 days. Circumstances seem to be very much in the opposition’s favor, with polls suggesting that between 65% and 70% of Venezuelans oppose the president. Also, starting in late March, the government offered its critics a golden opportunity in the form of two highly controversial and legally questionable decisions. The opposition failed to capitalize, however, and Maduro quickly moved to amend the situation, once again thwarting plans to oust him from the Palacio de Miraflores, the presidential palace in Caracas.

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