March 27, 2020, William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies
As Latin America undergoes perhaps the most significant period of instability in the past two decades, Cabello’s words represent a battle plan for Venezuela’s Maduro regime to destabilize the hemisphere. His statement would have seemed to be empty rhetoric only a few months ago, but now seems an apt forecast of the unrest that has swept across the region’s strongest democracies during the second half of 2019 and into early 2020. Cabello’s talk of a grand destabilization strategy translated into the Maduro regime’s directed efforts to successfully exacerbate tensions born of legitimate economic discontent, disgust with corruption, and deteriorating citizen security. These challenges have consumed the US’ staunchest regional allies including Chile, Colombia and Ecuador and exacerbated an already complex political situation in Bolivia. We argue that there are three missing but nonetheless critical factors to understanding Latin America’s ongoing social unrest.