Monday, April 15th, saw the publication of preliminary results of the presidential election in Venezuela won by Chavez's successor Nicolas Maduro. Meanwhile, opposition leader Henrique Capriles has refused to recognize the results of the vote. We asked Deputy Director for Research of the Institute of Latin American at the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladimir Sudareva, to comment the situation.
"Nothing positive should be expected, because the country has split almost in two. The difference of 1.4 percent is not a victory for Maduro - it is a victory for the administrative resource, for his team. Nicolas Maduro had a powerful resource, in contrast to Capriles. Almost all media outlets were controlled by the government, the entire campaign, which Maduro conducted, exceeded the opportunities of Capriles ten times. Still, opposition figures and the figures of the ruling elite aligned. Now President Maduro will not be able to call Capriles and his followers outcasts, because his words would be addressed to a half of the country, which is more than 8 million voters.
"What kind of legacy has Maduro received? I said in one of my interviews that if I were in Capriles' shoes, I would not want to win the election. At first, there is a very powerful administrative resource, which the opposition could not oppose, and yet Capriles scored so many votes. And secondly, the economic situation of the country if severe, if not terrifying. The incompleteness of social programs that Hugo Chavez started, a high crime rate, one of the highest levels of inflation. The 38-percent devaluation of the national currency, conducted by Nicolas Maduro a few months ago, struck a severe blow on common consumers. Empty shelves in shops, food is mostly imported, because agriculture hardly works in Venezuela, and the agrarian reform has not been conducted. There is a great deal of problems. And if Maduro blindly follows the course of Chavez, which has nearly destroyed the nation's economy, maybe due to very bad economic advisers, will will finish off antagonized businesses, students, churches, etc.
"As for the economy, one can not live like that. Therefore, despite the fact that Maduro says that he will blindly follow the advice of his teacher, Hugo Chavez, he will not be able to do this for more than two or three months, because the treasury is empty.
"In foreign policy, his statement of Venezuela's intention to supply 100,000 barrels of oil to Cuba daily, pursue the policies of Chavez, confront the U.S. and so on, I think that in a few months, he will not be able to do it physically.
"He will need to find a compromise with the opposition, this is a half of the country. Otherwise, if he only strengthens the military component, a civil war will be inevitable.
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