Last Days of Venezuela’s Cold Civil War

En Venezuela hay una guerra civil fría

Caracas Chronicles

iranhague061509One way to interpret what’s happening now is that the inherently unstable balance of the last 14 years is breaking. For almost a decade and a half, Venezuela’s been sinking deeper into a Cold Civil War, a situation where extreme eliminationist rhetoric and over-the-top professions of animosity went alongside a kind of tactical day-to-day tolerance.

Chávez’s extremism, his dismal vow to turn opponents into polvo cósmico, stayed largely – mostly – at the level of rhetoric. Venezuela has dozens of political prisoners, not hundreds or thousands. Dissent was repressed sporadically and selectively, rather than systematically and comprehensibly. The result was something I’ve written about constantly since 2002: a yawning gap between extremism in speech and moderation in practice that was the defining mark of the Chávez era, and a constant driver of opposition paranoia and government dreams of final revenge.

While Chávez was alive, this tension was never going to be…

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