The Exile Effect: Venezuela’s Overseas Opposition and Social Media
As Nicolás Maduro forces dissidents to flee Venezuela, exiles have come to play important roles influencing both the opposition’s political strategy and international policy toward Caracas. Analysis of social media suggests that exile can lead opposition members to use strident rhetoric and advocate aggressive ideas more often than domestic counterparts. Internationally facilitated negotiations remain Venezuela’s best path to peace, and the new U.S. administration might very well pursue them. Their success rests on all parties’ willingness to accept compromise. Conciliatory attitudes could be undermined not only by crackdowns in Venezuela but also by prominent exiles’ views. Opposition leaders and their foreign backers should not listen exclusively to hardline exile voices at the expense of those favouring negotiation. They should seek input from the full spectrum of opposition perspectives – including activists in Venezuela who are suffering hardship – as they seek to resolve the crisis.