The emergency situation caused by the epidemic of coronavirus in Venezuela, strengthens the power of the president Nicolas Maduro and neutralizes the leader of the opposition, Juan Guaido, always more dependent on its international allies.
“The discipline ! “is the word repeated repeatedly by the venezuelan president, flanked by military, during his frequent television appearances to discuss the fight against the pandemic.
Juan Guaido finds himself confined on the social networks, between censorship and weakness of the internet, Nicolas Maduro appears for a month as a strong man orchestrating the fight against the sars coronavirus.
“Maduro tries to get a message saying “I govern, I” command “, points out Luis Vicente Leon, president of the institute of polls from Datanalisis. The pandemic, which has undermined many governments in the world, offers a “golden opportunity” to Nicolas Maduro, he noted.
The president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro.
On 17 march, the head of the State has declared a containment mandatory for the 31 million of Venezuelans. Himself or his close collaborators announce the daily number of infections in the country, a balance sheet taken over by the world health Organization (WHO).
Juan Guaido, recognised as interim president by nearly sixty countries, does not cease to acknowledge the power of “lying” about these statistics — 227 confirmed cases including nine deaths, according to the latest report — but its margin of manoeuvre is reduced.
Without any “organizational structure (…) it is more limited,” noted the political scientist Ricardo Sucre.
The leader of the opposition has called for an ” emergency government “, a proposal supported by Washington, who, in the midst of a pandemic, has accused the head of State of “narcoterrorism” and offered $ 15 million reward for his arrest.
Following the example of its ally china, which he is renting the management of the health crisis, the socialist president enjoys special powers conferred by the state of emergency to combat the disease COVID-19. It has in particular imposed a curfew in the border towns with Colombia.
The epidemic has reduced the pressure (which hung) on him by stopping the protests, ” as the opposition sought to raise, note Benigno Alarcon, director of the Center for political studies of the catholic University Andrés Bello.
A few days prior to the confirmation of the onset of the epidemic in the country on 13 march, Juan Guaido himself had taken the lead in demonstrations in Caracas.
No territorial control, the leader of the opposition is forced to play on the international table. On Thursday, he promised to implement “as quickly as possible” a plan in coordination with the Organization of american States (OAS), based in Washington, d.c., to pay monthly premiums of $ 100 a month for three months the health workforce.
In the meantime, the Venezuelan cloîtrent home, in a country where the economic collapse and the collapse of public services have led to an exodus of 4.9 million people from 2015, according to the UN.
If the government “has managed on his behalf,” the situation, the fuel shortages, aggravated during the confinement, and the precariousness of the health system, however, could lead to a reversal of the situation, emphasizes Benigno Alarcon.
As the questioning of the outside of the legitimacy of Nicolas Maduro, accused of having been re-elected fraudulently in 2018, it closes many sources of funding.
Without a “clear recognition at this stage” the government of Nicolas Maduro by the international community, the international monetary Fund (IMF) has rejected a month ago a request for assistance by $ 5 billion to deal with the pandemic.
The support of its allies, chinese and russians, who have sent shipments of masks and respirators have “been more visible,” says Ricardo Sucre. “The real help “, says Nicolas Maduro.
But the economic problems remain ” a danger “, according to Luis Vicente Leon, exacerbated by the recent u.s. sanctions against the country and its oil industry.
Washington has recently proposed to raise it if Nicolas Maduro and Juan Guaido, who contend for the presidency, to accept a transitional government without their participation, in the expectation that the elections ” free and fair “.
But, for Benigno Alarcon, it is unlikely that Maduro ” is ready to leave to twist the arm “.