The EU can help Venezuela move out of political deadlock

A humanitarian agreement would be important in its own right. But it could also have potential to move Venezuela’s deadlock in another direction, write David Smilde and Geoff Ramsey

Tuesday 26 May 2020 13:00 BST
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Venezuelan officials said they had thwarted a predawn invasion aimed at killing Maduro
Venezuelan officials said they had thwarted a predawn invasion aimed at killing Maduro

It would have been comical, were it not so tragic. A ragtag team of mercenaries trained by former US Green Berets tried to enter Venezuela by force. Clearly infiltrated by Venezuelan intelligence, the attack was quickly put down. The political consequences are still unclear. However, the events underline just how desperate the situation has become. Numerous other military uprisings have been crushed; four efforts at negotiations have failed; an unpopular government is ratcheting down on a governance disaster; and a hapless opposition, unable to put forward a serious challenge for power, is losing support.

In the meantime, Venezuela is uniquely vulnerable to the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the International Rescue Committee, the country has just eight hospital beds per 100,000 people, and only 84 ICU beds for its entire population of 30 million. So far Venezuela has been spared the worst of the pandemic. But it is not clear how long this will last before the tragic mathematics of exponential growth overwhelms Venezuela’s already collapsed medical and public health institutions.

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