Transition and leadership in Venezuela after Chavez

(To Maria Grazia Labellarte)
29/02/16

After the last few days of clashes in the capital of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the inevitable end of Nicolas Maduro's presidential mandate has clearly emerged. In 2013, after the death of President Hugo Chavez, it was Maduro himself who relied on the loyalty and support of the military, necessary to be able to govern in Caracas. And precisely this axis seems to have been broken at the moment, leading a significant part of the armed forces to support the transition and opposition coalition.

According to a recent statement by National Assembly President Henry Ramos Allup, it seems that a not insignificant part of senior officers, led by Governor Francisco Arias Cardenas, is seriously considering Maduro's resignation as a possible means of tackling the political and economic crisis . This would allow the new administration to be able to start work on new economic and political reforms, at the same time curbing the anger of the citizens, now so tired of the current government that they turn the discontent into a wave of real unrest.

There are several scenarios imagined by international analysts for the future of Venezuela. The situation appears to be very complex, but as has often happened in Latin America, the most classic shortcut, the coup d'état, is not to be considered improbable. The risk of social upheaval as a result of the economic crisis could indeed push political elite leaders to seek a faster transition. In this case the initiative of a part of the Fuerza Armada Nacional would set aside the President without a constitutional path.

Another option is the "negotiation" of the removal of Maduro, as claimed by Padrino Lopez, Minister of Defense of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, avoiding unpopular and difficult to understand shots by the international community.

More realistic, but not very popular at the moment, it would be the scenario that a resigned Maduro wants in order to form a junta or another transitional government, where the participation of the opposition would be implied, thus free to compete with the Presidency. According to the Venezuelan Constitution in fact, new elections must take place within 30 days after the resignation of the President and the President of the National Assembly would govern the country until the new elections.

For a real and total transaction of leadership, especially in the last hypothesis, it is necessary to imagine a long period of time, with every certainty of months. Judging by the latest clashes in Caracas, it might be better for the civilian population to talk about weeks.

(Photo: FANB)