Is there a roadmap for what is happening in Venezuela?

October 27, 2002


Everyone wants to know where Venezuela is headed and when and how the Venezuelan political crisis will be resolved. I believe that this is a question that is essentially impossible to answer. Events in Venezuela have by now taken a life of their own. The crowd in Altamira square grows everyday as more and more people show up twentyfour hours a day to express their support for the dissenting officers. These officers appear now to be the true leaders of the opposition as their actions have resonated with the people, who have always felt the politicians and members of the Democratic Coordinating Committee have always been too indecisive.


The Chavez Government appears to have gone back to a strategy of doing nothing, or at least appearing to. However, the President not only held his Sunday radio program today, but had a nationally televised speech in which continued dennouncing the small group in Altamira Square as coupsters (And the crowd was large tonight, the largest so far. Everyday the number just grows). Thus, for the moment I will assume that the Chavez Government will continue this strategy.


If that were the case, I would then expect two possible important events this week that may precipitate events. The first one is that, as has been rumored all weekend, six Deputies in the National Assembly may switch sides and vote to have a referendum (see previous article) asking the people whether or not they want Chavez to resign. If this happened, Chavez could then accept the vote or fight against it. I he fought it, a General strike would surely follow.


The second case, would be that on Novemeber 4th. the opposition plans to hold a march to the National Electoral Council with 2 million signatures requesting a referendum asking people if they want Chavez to resign. (Only a single party Primero Justicia already had 1.16 million signatures tonight, the minimum required is 1.2 million). If the Government attemps to block this referendum a general strike would also follow.


All of this is said with the caveats that the dynamics have a life of their own, as we saw this week. It is difficult to predict even from day to day what may happen, so other scenarios may be possible, but without having a crystal ball these two are the ones logic and information present as the more probable ones today.

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