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Weekly Report - 12 August 2021 (WR-21-32)

Venezuela prepares for dialogue as elections loom

Venezuela is poised to embark upon another dialogue process. The precedents are not auspicious. The government led by Nicolás Maduro has seized upon dialogue before to try and bolster its legitimacy and play for time while consolidating its grip on power and never entertaining any meaningful compromise on substantive issues. The opposition led by Juan Guaidó has long resisted dialogue for this reason and because it believed that popular protests would persuade the military to topple Maduro. The fact that it has agreed to dialogue now is a sign of just how distant that prospect is and an acknowledgement that boycotting the legislative elections in December 2020 served no useful purpose. Paradoxically a weakened opposition does not strengthen Maduro as it has encouraged divisions within the ruling Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela (PSUV) ahead of regional and municipal elections on 21 November.

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