Venezuela was once one of Latin America’s wealthiest countries.
Now, however, Venezuela is seeing its democratic institutions collapse.
This has led to levels of disease, hunger and dysfunction more often seen in war-torn nations than in oil-rich ones.
President Nicolás Maduro, has called for a National Constitutional Assembly to be elected on July 30 to draft a new constitution, in which ill-defined communal councils will take the place of Venezuela’s traditional governing institutions.
But the opposition, which is boycotting the assembly vote, calls it a naked attempt to end democracy and turn the country into a Cuba-style communist autocracy. The government’s own attorney general calls the vote illegal.
For the past decade, #Venezuela has aligned itself with Russia, China, Iran and Syria. Whether it thrives or implodes, Mr. Maduro’s petrostate could cause far greater headaches to the U.S. and Latin America.
An implosion could mean bigger shipments of cocaine to Central America and the U.S.. Furthermore, there would be a massive increase in the current flow of tens of thousands of refugees already fleeing the country for the U.S., Colombia, Brazil and elsewhere. And a consolidation of power could let Mr. Maduro deepen his partnership with U.S. adversaries.