March 5 will mark the first anniversary of the death of Hugo Chávez, who succumbed to cancer after 14 years as president of Venezuela. Nicolás Maduro, Chávez’s hand-picked successor, won office in a contested election in April 2013. President Maduro received a boost from the strong showing of the government’s candidates in the December 2013 regional elections. But Maduro now faces significant street mobilization against his government. After nearly a year in power, how is Maduro managing the considerable challenges facing the country, including economic woes and violent crime, as well as recent street protests? After their setback in the December elections, what are the strategies and prospects of the political opposition? What does the continuing polarization of the country’s politics mean for ordinary Venezuelans? Please join us for a timely and in-depth discussion of Venezuela after Chávez.
David Smilde is a Senior Fellow at WOLA and Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Georgia. He writes regularly about politics, citizen security, and human rights at WOLA’s blog, Venezuelan Politics and Human Rights. Professor Smilde has researched Venezuela for the past 20 years and has taught at the Universidad Central de Venezuela and the Universidad Católica Ándres Bello. From 2010-2012 he was the Chair of the Venezuelan Studies Section of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA). He is frequently quoted regarding events in Venezuela by major press outlets, including National Public Radio, the Washington Post, and the New York Times.
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