It would be going too far to say that the four meetings on Venezuela that took place in different forums in different countries on 13 November will shape the country’s political future, but taken together they testify to the severity of the challenge the government led by President Nicolás Maduro faces to navigate a course through to presidential elections just over one year from now. The Maduro administration, meanwhile, is battening down the hatches. In any other week, the approval of a ‘hate law’ designed to stamp out all opposition would have seized the headlines. Instead, much like the systematic purge of senior executives in the state-run oil company Pdvsa, it was consigned to the margins by a debt crisis of epic proportions.

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