Venezuela: deepening authoritarianism or a transition to Democracy?

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Journal/Book Title/Conference

Relações Internacionais


Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Instituto Português de Relações Internacionais

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Up until the 1990s Venezuela was one of the most stable democracies in Latin America. Today it is the quintessential example of a competitive authoritarian regime. How did this country become increasingly more authoritarian? Is it likely it will transition to democracy any time soon? This article explores these questions, focusing on the role of the opposition. I suggest that the opposition’s strategic choices and goals are key to underst and Venezuela’s erosion to democracy, as well as the advances and setbacks in these country’s attempts to transition to democracy. Between 2006 and 2013 the opposition used institutional strategies to defeat Chavismo. In 2014 it resorted to extra‑institutional strategies with radical goals. Despite the severe economic and security crisis, individually, neither of these strategic choices was sufficient to push for a regime change. A mix of elections and street protests, since 2015 seems to be yielding better results.

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