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Old 04-13-2018, 06:48 AM
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Arrow A Scorecard For The Fall Of Venezuela's Strongman

A Scorecard For The Fall Of Venezuela's Strongman
PARRA/AFP/Getty Images)
By: Raúl Gallegos 4-13-18

For years people have been forecasting the fall of President Nicolás Maduro, Venezuela’s embattled strongman. And now, with Venezuela’s hyperinflation estimated to hit 13,000 this year, the deepest economic contraction in Latin America’s recorded history with GDP falling one third in the last four years, imploding oil output, a hungry population that hates him and an increasingly disgruntled military, Maduro will find it harder to cling on.

What are the odds of him leaving office in the next 12 months? This can happen in six different ways:

1) Natural death: People die and presidents are no exception. Maduro has no known illnesses, but for an overweight 55-year-old, the massive stress level of running a failed nation can take a toll. Venezuela’s available census figures for 2001 and 2011, and the official morbidity reports covering accidents and all illnesses for those years show that people in Maduro’s age group (55-59 year olds) face a chance of natural death as high as 1.23%. Take that as a base rate. True, these figures have surely worsened since the crisis began in 2014, but unlike most Venezuelans Maduro has access to food and better medical care than most.

2) Assassination: Venezuelans are a peace-loving population with no real history of presidential assassinations even though many would want Maduro dead. Since 1900 only one out of 31 presidents has been assassinated: Carlos Delgado Chalbaud was killed in 1950 shortly before a rival took over and became dictator. That’s a rate of 3.23% of sitting leaders killed in the past 119 years, which can serve as a rough benchmark. This estimate can increase the more violent and radical Maduro’s opponents become.

3) Resignation: One thing is clear - Maduro is not a quitter. He boldly scrapped the recall referendum that sought to oust him in 2016; he forced the creation of a Constitutional Assembly to safeguard his power; he gave the military control over oil to ensure its support and he now aims to win a rigged re-election in May. Since 1900 only one leader out of 31 has quit: Carlos Andres Perez, who was about to be impeached. That’s a 3.23% chance. But adjust that down by say a third, given Maduro’s intense desire to cling on, and that leaves the odds of him willingly quitting at 2.13%.

4) Impeachment: The impeachment of Venezuela’s leader is the most unlikely of all. In 1993 President Carlos Andres Perez was impeached for corruption despite his public resignation, because the Supreme Court and Congress were filled with his enemies. That’s only one president out of 31 impeached in more than a century – or a 3.23% chance of getting the boot. But Maduro controls all levers of power, including the Supreme Court, the Attorney General and the all-powerful Constitutional Assembly, so the chance of institutions turning against him is lower. Reduce the historical rate by two thirds and the odds of him getting pushed out legally by the institutions that have protected him stand at 1.06%.

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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