In a new report for the Latin American Program, Stanford University scholar Harold Trinkunas explains the role of the armed forces in Venezuela’s current regime and why they have thus far resisted democratization efforts. He argues that the armed forces have benefited greatly during the current regime from greater access to power, responsibility, and revenues. Moreover, the regime’s successful politicization and ‘coup proofing’ efforts have made dissent unworkable, even deadly, for members of the military. Democratization is seen as a risky alternative, particularly by senior leaders, who fear accountability for human rights abuses, illicit trafficking, and corruption under Maduro. Under these conditions, the armed forces prefer to support the status quo.
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