American Foreign PolicyEditors' PickFlashpoints IssueLatin America

Defusing Venezuela

By Julia Buxton

Venezuela, location of the world’s largest crude oil reserves, sits in the increasingly congested category of 2018 global flashpoints alongside geographically distant countries such as Syria, North Korea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Yemen, and Iran. The perceived risk factors are multiple: state collapse, civil war, humanitarian crisis and, as suggested by U.S. President Donald Trump in August 2017, the possibility of an externally instigated military intervention to remove sitting President Nicolas Maduro. This, in turn, could lead to civilian casualties, add to the flood of Venezuelans who have already left the country, and fragment patterns of organized crime. These scenarios are all equally likely if Maduro and the ruling Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela (PSUV) remains in power…

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