Last week, Nicolás Maduro was sworn in for his second six-year term as Venezuela’s president. Maduro won the election off the back of international condemnation of vote-buying and electoral fraud. While the US secretary of state Mike Pompeo called Venezuela’s government “illegitimate”, Maduro declared: “Venezuela is at the centre of a world war led by US imperialism and its satellite countries.” Such statements have become par for the course by a leader and government determined to frame Venezuela’s political, social and economic woes as a product of a protracted ideological battle with the US. While these discursive tactics may hold some traction with small parts of the population, the harsh reality of life in Venezuela and the government’s inability and, at times, unwillingness to address clear policy failings has significantly reduced support for Maduro and his government.

The scale of Venezuela’s current social, economic and political crisis is so severe it is difficult to...

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