Venezuela: From Richest Country in Latin America to “Basket Case”

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Venezuela is on the verge of implosion. Inflation has skyrocketed, shortages of food and other basic necessities abound, and Venezuelans are increasingly fleeing the country and relocating around the region. Calls for President Nicolás Maduro to go are getting louder and louder. Over the past few weeks, thousands of protestors have gathered on Venezuela’s streets, demanding the president step down. As violence escalates, with dozens of protestors killed, other countries are taking notice. U.S. President Donald Trump, for example, recently met with a jailed opposition leader’s wife and commented about the dire conditions in Venezuela. But the U.S. may need to do more. The Cipher Brief’s Kaitlin Lavinder spoke with former U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela Patrick Duddy about the current situation and how it impacts U.S. interests.

The Cipher Brief: You’ve written about warning indicators of violence and democratic derailment in Venezuela. On Monday, President Nicolás Maduro called for a constituent assembly asserting “we need to transform the state.” How significant is this step? 

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