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Is Venezuela’s Oil Production Set To Plunge Again?

With much of our attention focused on the resolution of the Iran conundrum, Venezuela heaved a temporary sigh of relief. Not only did it manage to overturn a seemingly terminal production decline that saw 7 consecutive month-on-month decreases but made tangible strides in avoiding a total fallout with the rest of the world, availing itself of the EU’s diplomatic efforts. President Maduro might be a lame-duck but the regime, heavily imprinted by him (i.e. increased military presence in state-owned non-military companies) and tracing back to Hugo Chavez, might survive in the long term by means of a good old rebranding trick and the oft-used tactic of playing off rivals. Rivals, who in case of cooperation would have no problems reshaping Venezuela for the better, seem to have too many personal ambitions to cooperate.

The biggest game-changer so far has been the EU-brokered diplomatic platform between high-ranking officials from the Maduro administration and leading opposition figures that regularly meet at the Caribbean island of Barbados to iron out the contours of post-2020 Venezuela. Interestingly, it is not the figure of the Venezuelan President that is at stake currently – it seems that President Maduro would not object to his leaving the post should Venezuela remain a Bolivarian republic composed mostly of the current elite, i.e. politicians that saw rapid promotion during the Chavez-era. The main stake is the National Assembly elections, the next round…




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