From the Document: "In late June and early July, three separate events highlighted the growing risk that the political, health, economic, and security crisis in Venezuela could come to a head in the coming months, which would have grave consequences for its neighbors in the region. First, two figures affiliated with the regime, Diosdado Cabello and Tarek El-Aissami, tested positive for Covid-19 [coronavirus disease 2019], with the prospect that Nicolás Maduro himself--with whom El-Aissami met--could be next. Second, the Maduro regime excluded three of the four political parties opposing him--Popular Will, Justice First, and Democratic Action--from National Assembly elections to be held in December; it also replaced their leaders with regime loyalists, decisively closing one of the few remaining possibilities for a democratic exit to the political crisis in the country. And finally, a report by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights on illegal mining in Venezuela highlighted the degree to which the national territory is controlled not by Nicolás Maduro or Juan Guaidó, but by criminal organizations. Beyond the greater Caracas area, Venezuela has devolved into a series of criminal fiefdoms bound not by an allegiance to Maduro or Guaidó but rather by a shared interest in the continued absence of effective governance; this enables those with guns to persist in their criminal enterprises, from narcotics and illegal mining to extorting desperate Venezuelans seeking to cross the border or to send remittances to their loved ones."
2020 Center for Strategic and International Studies
Center for Strategic and International Studies: https://www.csis.org/