Venezuela’s generals are getting uncomfortable with President Nicolás Maduro, the Times reports:
Former senior military officers have criticised the chaotic rule of President Maduro, in a sign that he may be losing the support of the armed services, previously a linchpin of his stability.
With Mr Maduro using all his powers to prevent the opposition-controlled parliament from organising a referendum on whether he should step down, criticism from the generals will be a serious blow.
Some of the officers who criticised Mr Maduro were among those who stood by his late predecessor Hugo Chávez when he launched his failed coup in 1992, a key moment in the history of Venezuela’s so-called Bolivarian Socialist revolution.
But don’t expect military officials to cozy up to march alongside the protestors calling for Maduro’s ouster. If and when Maduro does exit, the people who replace him in power aren’t likely to be friendly toward the military. Which means the military doesn’t have much of a choice except to stand next to Maduro and watch what’s left of Chavismo collapse in slow motion.
Over the weekend, Daniel Lansberg-Rodriguez tried to imagine what could come next:
Since an opposition government would investigate and prosecute the corruption of the revolutionary era, Chavismo bureaucrats and judges are working in lockstep to stymie the process until that date — as much to protect their own impunity as Mr Maduro.
If they are successful, the party might be able to buy itself a two-year stay of execution by sacrificing the figurehead. Yet in walking a fine line — provoking sufficient destabilisation to justify delays in the recall procedure but not enough to provoke the masses or the military into outright overthrow — the regime is playing a dangerous game. A majority of Venezuelans want Mr Maduro to leave office and popular unrest shows no sign of abating. The stage is set for unprecedented social upheaval.
It’s difficult to imagine how this ends well. Chávez’s revolución may be over, but there’s plenty more unrest to come as the power struggle between multiple candidates—none clearly strong enough to overtake the others—intensifies.