On Geopolitics

Why Do Coups Fail? One Simple Question Holds the Answer

May 8, 2019 | 23:09 GMT
This photo shows Venezuelan troops supporting interim President Juan Guaido's call for a military uprising against the government of President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas on April 30, 2019.

Soldiers who joined Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed acting president Juan Guaido take position during clashes with members of the Bolivarian National guard loyal to President Nicolas Maduro, in front of La Carlota base in Caracas on April 30, 2019. - Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed acting president Juan Guaido said on Tuesday that troops had joined his campaign to oust President Nicolas Maduro as the government vowed to put down what it called an attempted coup.


On April 30, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, the country's internationally backed interim president, beseeched the country's military to join him and rise up against the sitting government, leading many observers to trumpet the apparent start of a coup. While Guaido's initial call and footage of street protesters clashing with security forces in Caracas dominated the global media news cycle, his push to topple President Nicolas Maduro stalled. So why didn't Guaido's hoped-for uprising not materialize? The ingredients for regime change in Venezuela, whose oil-dependent economy, wracked by hyperinflation, has suffered for years under declining production, seem to be in place. But even as Guaido appeared among uniformed members of the National Guard last week and announced the final phase of what he called "Operacion Libertad," what followed instead was a day of waiting. The world waited to see what Guaido's next move would be, only to see him waiting for...

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