Is Maduro Becoming Popular Again?

The Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, is shedding his bad image

nicholas mature


LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

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Leer en español: El nuevo aire de Nicolás Maduro

The Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, seems to be going through an opportune moment. After several years of political and social crises and international isolation, the Caribbean president now faces more benevolent moments. There are several reasons why the Chavista leader is taking on a new air, and which seems to predict that many more years will pass before a change of power in Venezuela. 

War in Ukraine

The armed conflict between Ukraine and Russia has caused the West to reject the purchase of oil from the Eurasian giant. This has caused world leaders to look for another source to satisfy societies deeply dependent on gasoline and gas.

One of the first options is that country controlled by Chavismo and which the United States and its allies have tried to isolate and sanction in order to remove Nicolás Maduro from power. However, now all these Western leaders must weigh the scales and see the lesser of 2 evils: a Caribbean dictator or the authoritarian leader of the nuclear superpower threatening Europe with war.

Oil price increase

Perhaps the most relevant factor in economic stability in Venezuela is that the country's main export product, Oil, is reaching values that had not been seen for several years. The barrel of OPEC oil has registered levels of 113 euros this year, compared to the 17 that came down a couple of years ago.

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This has once again made that black gold appetizing and desirable, of which Venezuela has the largest confirmed reserves on the planet. Today Maduro knows that the world, especially the West, is urgently looking for oil and the cost per barrel makes the income from each export an incentive for investment and to calm an economy that has been hit by decades of mismanagement.

Diplomatic opening

Due to the scarcity of oil today in the West due to the sanctions against Russia, which influences the increase in its prices, it has now caused this third phenomenon. Today the United States and the European Union are considering opening the doors of international society to the Venezuelan president.

Those who at the time were his main "enemies" in international diplomacy, today are considering lifting different sanctions against the Chavista government. Although this measure has not yet been effective, the softening of the discourse is evident, and they put the possibility on the table in the dialogue that occurs between Chavismo and the opposition.

An opposition that contemplates rapprochement with the ruling party

A part of the Venezuelan opposition has also considered a change of focus in the dialogue with the ruling party. The groups Alianza Pencil, the Movement for Socialism and Centrados (opposition groups) contemplate the lifting of sanctions against the Maduro government.

Despite the fact that there are sectors that support this initiative, even the opposition leader Juan Guaidó asked that this measure be dependent on presidential elections.

Slight recovery of the economy

Additionally, whether due to de facto dollarization or other measures, the Venezuelan economy has been showing signs of improvement or, at least, a stability that has not been seen for years. The phrase "Venezuela fixed itself" has now been under consideration. Although many still say that it is too hasty, this debate just a couple of years ago was unthinkable.

Many analysts consider that 2022 will be the year in which Venezuela manages to get out of hyperinflation. This phenomenon was not only a symptom of the Venezuelan economic crisis, but also a phenomenon that slowly ate away the savings and quality of life of Venezuelans.

Added to this is a slight improvement in the rates of violence and insecurity. So much so, that in 2021 there was a reduction in the rates of violence , in what was considered the most violent and insecure country in South America. Although the figures are still far from ideal, the improvement is evident.

A favorable neighborhood for Chavismo

Added to all these phenomena is another extremely important one: the political pendulum in Latin America seems to be in favor of Nicolás Maduro. Chile, Peru, Argentina and Bolivia have had changes of government, going from strong critics to more benevolent administrations. To these can be added the changes in Colombia and Brazil, both have elections this year and the departure of Iván Duque (Colombia) and Jair Bolsonaro (Brazil), would mean the departure of the two greatest rivals of Maduro. It seems that several leaders in the region will seek to lift sanctions that have kept Chavismo away from international diplomacy.

All this seems to indicate that Nicolás Maduro is having a new look. Today it is finally sticking its head out to breathe, after all the years of economic, political and diplomatic cornering. This leaves the uncertainty of what will be the indicated way to return to democracy in Venezuela, because now the Chavista leader will come out stronger and a political change again seems like a utopia.

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