by Dr Matt Wilde, ILAS Stipendiary Fellow 2013-14
The last few months have been testing times for Venezuelans. In February a series of anti-government protests broke out across the country, igniting social tensions that had been simmering since the death of Hugo Chávez and the election of his successor, Nicolás Maduro, in April 2013. Initially beginning among students in the western state of Táchira, demonstrations soon emerged in Caracas and other major urban centres, where predominantly middle-class protestors took to the streets to condemn high inflation, food shortages and insecurity. Led by Leopoldo López and Maria Corina Machado, radical sectors of the opposition seemed intent on stoking tensions in order to destabilise the government.