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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Venezuela: Calle Sin Salida

Venezuela has entered a dangerous stage of constant confrontations between the government of Nicolas Maduro and opponents to his regime, successor to that of Hugo Chavez. There are very few hopeful signs that the country will be able to come out of its current crisis without more deaths and injuries, arrests and disappearances.

Two dozen people have died so far. Hundreds have been arrested. Some people are unaccounted for. The government repression is harsh, and the people on the street are fed up. Maduro has hardened his stance in recent days, and his harsh words against the United States and others who he blames for the unrest. 

There is a slim possibility that a large enough group of Chavistas -- those loyal to the Chavez legacy but not necessarily to Maduro -- will convince Maduro that he must turn over power to new leaders. The most visionary "salida" or exit would be a constitutional junta made up of three or five members consisting of representatives of the Armed Forces, Chavez's socialist party, the president of the Senate, and the moderate opposition.

You can spend your entire lifetime hoping for reasonable things to happen in conflict zones in Latin America, where ideology and personalista politics usually takes precedence over nationalism and logic. But one can hope.

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