On Monday, Feb. 25 the America’s Program of the Woodrow Wilson Center held a seminar on the current political situation in Venezuela. You can watch a webcast of the whole thing here.

There were a couple of key points in which the four presenters coincided.

  • For the time being there is a relative but fragile stability.
  • The government has a lot of support for both rational and emotional reasons.
  • The economy is not on a sustainable track and could run into trouble in the medium term, but probably not the short term.

Historian Margarita López Maya (Universidad Central de Venezuela) pointed out how the absence of President Hugo Chávez is the key element of the current political situation. His charisma, along with high oil prices, have long been able to cover up an increasingly tenuous economic situation, declining infrastructure, and state dysfunction. Without his presence these problems are increasingly evident. She pointed out the ever increasing number of protests which now number about fifteen per day. In addition crime and violence is out of control, making Caracas the most dangerous capital in Latin America.

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