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GPPAC Alert by Dr. Andrés Serbin – Venezuela in Crisis: Economic and Political Conflict Drivers In the Post-Chávez Era

23 abril 2014 No Comment

GPPACALERT

 

Read the full GPPAC Alert on Venezuela here.

Executive Summary

This document outlines the political and economic drivers which have contributed to the current conflict dynamics in Venezuela. It was prepared between October 2013 and mid-February 2014, and as such it focuses mainly on the drivers and triggers that led to the crisis.

In spite of significant social advances achieved under Chávez’ social policies, contemporary Venezuela is marked by profound political, economic and social polarization. The economic policies of the past decade, with the introduction of currency exchange controls, nationalization, and the declining productivity have led to a steady deterioration of the economy, in spite of high oil prices that generate fiscal revenues. The weak administration as seen in the reduction of Central Bank reserves and an accumulation of foreign debt, have led to severe inflation and shortage of goods, contributing to heightened political and social tensions. The situation has been exacerbated by a political stalemate and ideological differences within the ruling party, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) on how to address the economic crisis.

Meanwhile, the Venezuelan Government’s increased control over democratic institutions and its aggressive campaign against the opposition has seen the deterioration of democracy, where notably the opposition has no recourse to the institutions established by the rule of law, generating an environment of government impunity in both the economic and the political spheres. The clampdown on objective media reporting on situations not favorable to the narrative or image of the Government has contributed further to the lack of transparency and monitoring of government decisions and policies. Finally, Chávez’ reorganization of the military has brought their increased involvement in civil matters and contributed to the militarization of Venezuelan society.

The shortage and scarcity of goods, widespread insecurity and allegations of corruption among the high ranks of the Government and military, coupled with human rights violations and the repression of anti-government protests and political opponents have contributed to the current explosive climate. As a result, there is a growing disaffection and sense of impotence among key sections of the population. Whilst the opposition has formed a coalition at the political level, it has not been able to maintain a united front for a viable political alternative. In the situation that has unfolded in recent weeks, there are signs of an increasing tendency to turn to violence on several sides, and a militarized response to the unrest.

Read the full GPPAC Alert on Venezuela here.

About this publication

This report is part of the GPPAC Alert series, which aims to capture and disseminate the analytical insights of GPPAC members and partners on specific conflict issues, and to promote multi-stakeholder engagement on the conflict issue in question. The framework for GPPAC Alerts has been developed by the network’s Preventive Action Working Group, which works to bridge the gap between conflict early warning and early response through tools such as conflict analysis, multi-stakeholder collaboration and action planning

The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflicts (GPPAC) is a network of civil society organisations active in conflict prevention and peacebuilding practice world-wide, promoting a fundamental shift in how the world deals with violent conflict: moving from reaction to prevention. GPPAC members work together to inform policy, improve practice and facilitate collaboration amongst civil society, intergovernmental organizations and state actors.

GPPAC is composed of regional civil society networks in fifteen regions, and coordinates global thematic working groups and projects. Such exchanges contribute to lessons learned and new resources, and supports collaborative action for conflict prevention and the building of sustainable peace.

Coordinadora Regional de Investigaciones Económicas y Sociales (CRIES) is a regional think tank with over 30 years of experience and is based on a network of over 70 academic centres, NGOs, associations, experts and foundations in Latin America and the Caribbean. It acts as the Regional Secretariat for GPPAC Latin America & the Caribbean, and is a core member of the GPPAC Preventive Action Working Group. Its mandate is to promote political, economic, social and environmental research as well as to enhance civil society´s participation in public debate by strengthening its advocacy capabilities and impact in regional and global agendas. CRIES´ main subject areas are conflict prevention, regional integration, human rights, citizen´s diplomacy, mass atrocity prevention, democratic governance and security.

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