Venezuela’s opposition has played into Nicolás Maduro’s hands/Julia Buxton is professor of comparative politics at Central European University, Budapest.
The Guardian | 4 de marzo de 2014
Filling the void left by a charismatic leader is always a challenge, and Venezuela’s president, Nicolás Maduro, has struggled to command the authority of his predecessor, the late Hugo Chávez. The burden of succession has proved all the more onerous as it has fallen to Maduro to address the difficult decisions that were deferred or bypassed by Chávez, who died a year ago.
Among the challenges bequeathed to Maduro, who assumed the presidency by a razor-thin majority in elections last April, two have been pressing: an appalling problem of crime and corruption that has propelled Venezuela into the top 10 of global corruption and homicide indices; and a dysfunctional economy.
Crime and corruption are longstanding, inherited by Chávez from the politicians of the old regime who sought to remove him in the failed coup of 2002. They were exacerbated by constant ministerial turnover and the government’s failure to engage with these issues as social and institutional problems, rather than facets of capitalism that would fade under Chávez’s model of 21st century socialism.