Protests in Venezuela

Oct. 19, 2017 Weekly Graphs

The ongoing protests in Venezuela reached a tipping point in January 2017 with the arrest of political opposition leaders, and were followed by the dissolution of the National Assembly. Protests, inflation above 700%, and shortages of basic goods, have led to a situation of both political and social instability. On May 1, 2017, President Maduro called for the creation of a Constituent Assembly, in order to replace the previous constitution from 1999. Conduct during the election of the Constituent Assembly has been criticized, with claims that government employees could lose their jobs if they did not participate and mass firings followed the elections despite claims from the electoral body that turnout was over 90%.

This week’s graph looks at executive oversight, and government intimidation in elections in Venezuela. The executive oversight indicator looks at the likelihood of a body other than the legislature, such as a general prosecutor, to investigate officials of the executive branch and issue them unfavourable decisions. This indicator runs on a scale from zero to four, where zero is extremely unlikely for this to occur, and four represents this oversight to certainly or nearly occur. In the election government intimidation indicator, zero represents harsh repression or intimidation and four no harassment or intimidation. In 1948, a coup d’état ended attempts to create a democratic state. In 1957 a new coup ended the dictatorship leading to an increased period of democracy, where executive oversight increased, and with almost no intimidation as reflected in the graph. However, this has gradually decreased since 1999, where the indicator is now on a level of periodic, not systematic, but possibly centrally coordinated government intimidation.  Executive oversight has equally seen a decline since 1999, where the executive is able to act independently and with impunity.

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