Authoritarian Survival: Why Maduro Hasn’t Fallen

Issue Date July 2020
Volume 31
Issue 3
Page Numbers 39-53
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The autocratic regime in Venezuela has survived despite a multitude of crises. It has done so by relying on classic autocratic tools, but also by deploying what I call “function fusion”: granting existing institutions the ability to perform a variety of functions typically reserved for other institutions. The military is acquiring civilian and business functions; organized civilian groups have been given the function of conducting quasi-military operations; a constituent assembly has acquired the function of legislature and ruling party combined; and the state is sharing sovereignty with foreign armed forces and criminal gangs. The regime is adapting the concept of multitasking in the service of twenty-first–century authoritarianism. This is a risky strategy, but so far it has allowed the regime to maintain its repressive rule and keep its coalition intact.

About the Author

Javier Corrales is Dwight W. Morrow 1895 Professor of Political Science at Amherst College. His books include Fixing Democracy: Why Constitutional Change Often Fails to Enhance Democracy in Latin America (2018) and (with Michael Penfold) Dragon in the Tropics: Venezuela and the Legacy of Hugo Chávez (second edition, 2015).

View all work by Javier Corrales