The government’s determination to uproot democratic institutions is sure to increase violence – but the prospect of a coup, or worse, remains uncertain

The Venezuelan government’s determination to uproot the country’s democratic institutions looks almost certain to raise the already serious level of violence in the country. Is it less clear whether that violence will ignite a civil war, trigger a coup, or simply drive Venezuela further down the road towards an impoverished failed state and chaos.

The abrupt removal of the independently minded chief prosecutor Luisa Ortega, whose office was surrounded by soldiers on Saturday as a precursor to her replacement by a more compliant official, is the latest in a series of steps taken by president Nicolás Maduro to get rid of checks on his government’s power.

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