The most headline-grabbing development in Venezuela this week was the decision by opposition leader Leopoldo López on 18 February to hand himself over to the national guard to face charges of fomenting the unrest which led to three deaths six days earlier. Given the opposition’s limited capacity to influence events in Venezuela, however, the most significant development this week was the announcement by the Bolivarian armed forces (FANB) that it would “never accept a government which does not emerge through constitutional means”. Opposing a coup is not the same as emphatic support for President Nicolás Maduro though and this pointedly leaves open the possibility of the FANB being prepared to accept an internal move to force him out. There are signs that Maduro’s authority is being chal- lenged. He was compelled to dismiss the head of the Bolivarian national intelligence agency (Sebin) this week after his orders were disobeyed.

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