Disrupting the Illicit Economy that Sustains the Maduro Regime

Disrupting the Illicit Economy that Sustains the Maduro Regime

Publication Date:
2020 Special Issue #2
Language Availability:
Spanish
Author:
Celina Realuyo
Publicado por:
Revista Diálogo

Summary:
Nicolás Maduro and his cronies remain in control in Venezuela despite intense diplomatic pressure to move to a democratic transition, economic sanctions, and international recognition of Juan Guaidó as the acting president of Venezuela since January 23, 2019. The Maduro regime oppresses the population, has destroyed the legitimate economy, engages in massive corruption, and increasingly depends on the illicit economy to survive. Hyperinflation, food and medicine shortages, insecurity and economic ruin have created a humanitarian crisis that has forced over five million Venezuelans to flee the country. The United Nations estimates that 90 percent of Venezuelans are living in poverty. The COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating the human tragedy in Venezuela, once the richest country in South America. The Maduro regime engages in various illicit activities including narcotics trafficking, illegal oil sales, and gold shipments. The regime also relies on Cuba, Russia, China, Iran, Turkey, and Colombian guerrilla members of the National Liberation Army (ELN, in Spanish) and dissidents of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC, in Spanish) to keep itself in power. The US government's "maximum pressure" campaign seeks to impede access to the illicit economy that the Maduro regime depends on. It includes extensive sanctions on the oil and gold sectors, the public indictment of Maduro and his associates on narcoterrorism charges, a $15 million bounty reward for Maduro’s arrest and conviction, and US enhanced counternarcotics operations, with international support, in the Caribbean and Central America that began April 1, 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic and related lockdowns, paralysis of global trade, and collapse of global oil prices are further aggravating the crisis in Venezuela. It is unclear how long the Maduro regime can cling to power given increased US and international pressure and this challenging operating environment for Venezuela. 

Available for download at https://dialogo-americas.com/application/files/Dialogo-2nd-2020-ES.pdf