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date: 13 June 2024

Venezuela: Coup-Proofing From Pérez Jiménez to Madurolocked

Venezuela: Coup-Proofing From Pérez Jiménez to Madurolocked

  • Deborah L. NordenDeborah L. NordenDepartment of Political Science, Whittier College

Summary

From the middle of the 20th century, Venezuela’s governments have demonstrated surprising immunity to successful coups. The more than 40-year Punto Fijo democracy (1958–1999) boasted free and competitive elections even while the vast majority of Latin American governments fell to military rule. Two decades later, the beleaguered government of Nicolás Maduro withstood not only national, but international demands for a military coup under conditions of virtual economic collapse and extreme political crisis. This resilience is largely a function of successful coup-proofing—deliberate government policies to both reward military loyalty and defend against possible dissent. The Bolivarian leaders of the early 21st century—Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro— built on a combination of strategies previously utilized by either the Pérez Jiménez military regime (1948–1958) or the Punto Fijo democratic regime, notably expanding such elements as politicization and the creation of competing militarized forces (counterbalancing) to fit with the revolutionary model that the chavistas sought to pursue.

Subjects

  • Contentious Politics and Political Violence
  • Governance/Political Change
  • History and Politics
  • Political Institutions

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