Venezuela's currency has collapsed, and shortages of food and medicine have produced widespread poverty and malnutrition. President Nicolás Maduro is increasingly autocratic, while his approval rating is about 18%. Popular protests are occurring and government officials – including some military officers – appear to be losing confidence in him. The country appears to be moving towards dictatorship and, possibly, a political tipping point in favour of the opposition.

Venezuela, a country that should be one of the wealthiest in the world, remains mired in deepening crisis. Its currency (the bolívar) has completely collapsed, shortages of food and medicine have prompted a large-scale exodus of its citizens while inflicting poverty and malnutrition on millions of those who stayed, and political instability has produced dramatic increases in violence. President Nicolás Maduro, whom long-time populist left-wing president Hugo Chávez had hand-picked as his successor before he died of cancer in 2013, had an approval rating of 18% in mid-2017. The economy shrank by 10% in 2016, and annual inflation was poised to exceed 720% in 2017. In the face of growing public discontent with his presidency, Maduro has attempted to hold on to power by cracking down on dissent and rendering democratic institutions impotent, while pushing to rewrite the constitution. The promise of decreased social inequality and poverty that brought Chávez and Maduro to power has become not merely illusory but preposterous. And Maduro’s presidency is increasingly in doubt.

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