No one believes the electoral commission’s claim that 8m Venezuelans voted to choose members of a new constituent assembly, which now becomes the supreme power in the country. The regime is likely to increase its repression; the assembly will probably sack the attorney-general, a supporter-turned-critic of President Nicolás Maduro. This will worsen the standoff between the regime and its foes, who have vowed demonstrations will continue. The stalemate could be broken in two ways. The first would start with a ratcheting-up of sanctions by America, which has so far targeted only individuals. Striking at Venezuela’s oil exports would be a much bigger deal. But it would worsen shortages of food and medicine which have already made life awful for most Venezuelans. The second potential game-changer would be a further escalation of violence. A breakdown of order could provoke the army to intervene, either to defend the regime or, less likely, to restore democracy.
A dangerous fantasyland: Venezuela. Publicado en The Economist Espresso (Edición Digital), Viernes 4 de Agosto de 2017.