Weekly Geopolitical Report – Venezuela: An Update, Part II (May 20, 2019)

by Bill O’Grady

(N.B.  Due to the Memorial Day holiday, the next issue will be published June 3.)

In Part I of this report, we provided readers with a short history of Venezuela to bring some context to the current situation.  This week, Part II, will examine the attempts by the opposition to oust Maduro, the problems the opposition faces in removing the current leader and the interests of foreign players.  As always, we will conclude with market ramifications.

Attempts to Remove Maduro
Maduro remains in control despite 50 nations declaring Guaido the legitimate leader of Venezuela.  Guaido has made three attempts to seize power.  Soon after his appointment in January, he called on the people and the military to rise up and oust Maduro.  The security services remained loyal to Maduro.  In late February, Guaido attempted to bring in convoys of humanitarian goods across the Colombian and Brazilian borders.  His goal was to show impoverished Venezuelans that he could bring much needed food and medicine into the country.  However, Maduro’s forces prevented the goods from crossing the border.

The most serious attempt occurred on April 30.  In the early morning hours, Leopoldo Lopez, an opposition leader and mentor to Guaido who had been under house arrest, emerged on social media, free and surrounded by his captors.  The security forces assigned to him had set him free.

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