This one is really good. I can see why David Smilde’s analysis appears so often in media coverage of Venezuela.

David is a senior fellow who writes WOLA’s Venezuela blog, teaches at Tulane University and spends much of his time—including the tumultuous last few months—in Caracas.

He doesn’t pass through Washington very often, so it was great to have a chance to grab him with my microphone at our staff retreat. (You can occasionally hear some of our WOLA colleagues in the background.)

This fast-moving interview covers:

  • the risk to democracy posed by President Nicolás Maduro’s proposed constitutional assembly;
  • the opposition’s strategic opportunities, challenges, and mistakes;
  • the security forces’ role;
  • the highly politicized issue of humanitarian aid;
  • diplomatic efforts at the Organization of American States;
  • the possibility of sanctions, and why WOLA is skeptical of  this tactic under most circumstances; and
  • real hope for multilateral action to find a way forward.