WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
8 Jan 2019 | Media Advisory

WOLA Expert David Smilde Available for Background and Commentary on Upcoming Presidential Inauguration in Venezuela

On January 10, President Nicolás Maduro will be sworn in for a second term in Venezuela, based on an election considered illegitimate by a majority of Venezuelans and by most North American, South American, and European governments. For further context on Venezuela’s ongoing political crisis, Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) expert David Smilde will be available to provide commentary.

Smilde, a Senior Fellow at WOLA and the Charles A. and Leo M. Favrot Professor of Human Relations at Tulane University, has researched Venezuelan politics for over twenty years and written extensively on the subject. He maintains the Venezuela Politics and Human Rights Blog, and is a frequent commentator in the media.

In a piece published today in The Conversation, Smilde reviews data showing that a majority of Venezuelans prefer a negotiated solution and would oppose a foreign military intervention even if it successfully removed Maduro.

On January 6, Smilde—along with Abraham Lowenthal, founding director of the Inter-American Dialogue—made the case for a negotiated solution to Venezuela’s political crisis in an op-ed for The Hill. Smilde and Lowenthal argue that foreign military intervention or support for a military coup in Venezuela would be disastrous. Instead, they outline how the Venezuelan opposition can become more unified, thereby gaining the ability to more effectively pressure the Maduro government. A more coordinated opposition would have the capacity to sustain domestic pressure and, with international support, could eventually create conditions for fruitful negotiations with the Maduro government.

Earlier this month, Smilde and Geoff Ramsey, WOLA’s Assistant Director for Venezuela, published a policy memo laying out concrete actions the United States could take to help create the conditions needed for credible negotiations between Venezuela’s opposition and the Maduro government.