Weekly Report - 14 January 2021 (WR-21-02)

Empowered Maduro seeks to stoke nationalism

Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro is in the political ascendancy. There were times in the months after his main rival Juan Guaidó assumed the presidency of the opposition-controlled national assembly in January 2019 when it seemed like Maduro’s days might be numbered. But after wresting control of the legislature from Guaidó and the opposition last week, Maduro has subsumed Venezuela’s last bastion of democracy into his authoritarian regime. Appearing before the new national assembly this week to deliver a state-of-the-nation address, Maduro acknowledged some of Venezuela’s economic difficulties, while laying the blame squarely on others and peddling the illusion that better days are on the horizon. He also seized upon the country’s territorial controversy with Guyana to try and stir up nationalist sentiment to buttress his support.

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