Monday, October 16, 2017 - 4:00pm
In August 2017, after months of social unrest and facing a deepening economic crisis, the government of Nicolás Maduro installed a Constituent Assembly of dubious electoral origins that overrides powers of all other democratically elected officials and institutions in the country. Confronting generalized international rejection, during its first month in power the Constituent Assembly has laid bare an authoritarian power grab, cracking down on dissent, claiming its authority over all branches of government –including the National Assembly controlled by the opposition–and extending its mandate from six months to up to two years.
A recent move to “speed-up” overdue elections for state governors while ordering investigations of top opposition leaders for ‘treason’ has divided the opposition between groups willing to participate in regional elections, and those who call for abstention. In this context, hopes for a democratic and negotiated solution of the Venezuelan conflict are waning. With a fragmented opposition and an emboldened government, multilateral diplomatic initiatives for talks have been stalled for months. The United States’ sanctions, and the Trump’s administration threats of military actions have further complicated the prospects of a negotiated and democratic solution for Venezuela.
This panel of experts will examine the reconfiguration of power in Venezuela amid extended economic and humanitarian crises, mapping the most significant changes in the political landscape of the country, and discussing its consequences for the prospects of democracy in the country and in the region.
Javier Corrales, Professor, Political Science, Amherst College
Alejandro Velasco, Associate Professor, Gallatin School, New York University
Martha Fuentes-Bautista (UMASS Amherst)
With an introduction by:
Sonia Álvarez (UMASS Amherst)