Welcome to the new Venezuela Politics and Human Rights Blog. You might have noticed the site has a new look and feel. The site now has more images, an events page, new and improved archive and search functions, and—most importantly—is designed to feature new kinds of content.
One of the unfortunate things that has long characterized discussion of Venezuela abroad is a filtering of views. With the pandemic limiting travel and in-person meetings, there is a real risk that echo chambers in Washington, Brussels, Bogota, and elsewhere will shrink even further. We have always sought to highlight gaps in beltway thinking by connecting our Venezuelan partners with policymakers, and will use the relaunched site to do so more effectively. Moving forward we will complement our analysis with more multimedia—videos, podcasts, and more—to shed light on different aspects of the realities of Venezuela’s crisis, and to amplify the voices of Venezuelans responding to the country’s crisis on the ground.
It won’t be easy. In the six years since I first began travelling to Venezuela, the country’s political and economic crisis has worsened dramatically. In many ways the prospects for a peaceful, democratic solution is now far dimmer. At times working on this issue has felt like our victories are always short-lived compared with the ever-worsening situation on the ground.
The last three years in particular have been a whirlwind. In 2017, we began pushing for a multilateral diplomatic framework that helped lead to renewed negotiations, only for these talks to fail. In 2018 we worked to ensure that solidarity with Venezuelans didn’t end when they fled their country, only for the hemisphere to turn its back on those fleeing the crisis. In 2019 we called for focused pressure to be paired with meaningful engagement towards a solution, saw the most robust negotiations process to date emerge, then watched it flare out amid conflicting geopolitical agendas.
Oddly, I remain hopeful. A big reason for this is the fact that we at WOLA have the honor of working with courageous civil society actors on the ground. Day after day I am awed by Venezuelan colleagues who put themselves in danger to stand against authoritarianism and defend political, economic, and social rights. They take great risks because they truly believe in a peaceful, democratic solution, and are working to make it a reality.
It is this sense of solidarity, of resilience, that we hope to reflect in the updated version of our Venezuela Politics and Human Rights Blog. While continuing to offer the same reality-based analysis that David Smilde started in 2012, we hope to use our platform to bring more attention to the proposals of Venezuelans working for realistic solutions on the ground.
For a sample of some of our recent and upcoming work, check out:
- Upcoming Webinar | Thursday, July 23 at 9:30 a.m. EST:, “Venezuela’s Ever-Evolving Crisis: Short and Long-Term Prospects for Change.” Join us to hear from leading Venezuelan civil society voices Eugenio Martinez, Colette Capriles, and Mariela Ramirez about the prospects for legislative elections and political negotiations for the next six months. RSVP here
- Upcoming Webinar | Wednesday, July 22 at 11:00 a.m. EST: “The Trump Administration and how Latin America’s Next Generation of Leaders are Consolidating Power.” Join us to hear from regional civil society activists and other WOLA experts for the first of a four-part event series on the impacts of the Trump administration in Latin America.
- Read our recent contributions to Responsible Statecraft, including Smilde’s analysis on how a potential Biden administration can shift U.S. policy in a more productive direction, and my critique of some of the Trump administration’s missteps.
- See our recent peer-reviewed article analyzing the four latest efforts at negotiations with the Maduro government in the European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies.
- Podcast | May 28, 2020 – Venezuela: COVID-19, Sanctions, Outside Powers, Florida Politics, and the Search for a Political Solution. Featuring WOLA experts discussing the impact of the pandemic and U.S. elections on the Venezuela crisis.
Thank you for following our work as we advance towards finding a peaceful, democratic solution in Venezuela. I believe that by amplifying a wide array of Venezuelan voices dedicated to change, that day will come. Stay tuned.