Venezuela is in the midst of an unprecedented social and humanitarian collapse that has led to food insecurity, the second largest migration crisis in the world, and regional instability. Many experts now believe that the path to re-democratization and stability involves a lengthy negotiation process leading to free and fair presidential elections and the rebuilding of democratic institutions. Since 2018, USIP has worked to generate the conditions for a peaceful negotiated political settlement in Venezuela by enhancing engagement and supporting moderate civil society actors, especially women, who will play an essential role in a successful negotiation process.
The scale of the Venezuela crisis is unique in recent history, with wartime indicators of hunger, refugees, and human rights abuses but conventional violent conflict largely absent. At the heart of the crisis is a 20-year struggle between the Chavista regime and the democratic opposition, characterized for most of these two decades by each side attempting to eliminate the other from the political map. Negotiations are seen by most outside observers as the only way the conflict will definitively end and there have been consistent efforts to bring the two sides to the table, most recently in Barbados and Oslo in 2019.
Few countries can rival the creditor-lender relationship between China and Venezuela on pure volume. China has loaned more money to Venezuela — some $60 billion — than to any other country in the world and is Venezuela’s largest lender by far. But as Venezuela descends further into uncertainty amid a host of economic, political and social crises, Beijing has remained mostly silent regarding the domestic political struggles of one its largest trading partners in Latin America.
Venezuela se encuentra en medio de un colapso social y humanitario sin precedentes – el resultado de malas políticas económicas y un conflicto político – que ha conducido a la inseguridad alimentaria, la segunda crisis migratoria más grande del mundo y a la inestabilidad regional. La comunidad internacional ha respondido presionando al régimen y apoyando a un gobierno dirigido por la oposición, pero que hasta la actualidad ha fallado a la hora de traer un cambio positivo.
Since 2020, USIP’s programs on religion and inclusive societies and nonviolent action have been conducting research to better understand the role of religion in nonviolent action campaigns. Many of the most prominent activists and nonviolent movements in history have drawn on religion as they worked to build peace and advance justice. Historical figures such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi often come to mind. But religious leaders, beliefs, symbols and practices have featured just as prominently in more recent nonviolent campaigns, including the Arab Uprisings, the Spring Revolution in Myanmar and Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement.
Since Spring 2021 The U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) is identifying best practices in psychosocial support to better facilitate collaboration and cooperation between religious actors and mental health professionals who provide services to conflict-affected communities — including trauma-affected displaced persons. The initiative will focus on Latin America as a pilot region, aiming to offer practical recommendations to relevant stakeholders.