How to Avoid a Venezuelan Civil War

Latin American Solutions for a Latin American Problem

A demonstrator is detained at a rally during a strike called to protest  Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government, Caracas, July 2017 . Ueslei Marcelino / reuters

Venezuela is careening toward civil war. Political and criminal violence is spreading like wildfire and the capital city, Caracas, has become one of the world’s most violent. At least 130 people were killed and another 3,500 injured in anti-government protests over the past four months. Tens of thousands of Venezuelans have fled to neighboring countries, Brazil and Colombia, in search of refuge. Meanwhile, most countries in the region are quietly preparing contingency plans to deal with the blowback. That won’t be enough: if full-on armed conflict is to be averted, a far more robust response is needed.


Venezuela’s democratic institutions are under assault. Since President Nicolas Maduro was elected in 2013, thousands of his opponents have been arrested. Over 430 of them were jailed, many of them after trials in military courts. This month has seen the imprisonment of two top opposition leaders, prompting widespread condemnation in Venezuela and abroad. Even

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