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Published: February 21, 2014

Political unrest in Thailand and Venezuela

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The last couple of weeks have seen a rise of political conflict with potential security ramifications to NGO`s operating in Thailand and Venezuela.

Thailand

In Thailand, the protests against the government – led by the Pheu Thai Party – have continued. In the general elections that took place on the 2nd of February, analysts estimate that over 500 of the 6000 polling stations in the country were blocked by protestors, preventing almost 6 million people from voting. With the opposition disputing the legality of the results, and the inability of the government to reach the necessary MPs to secure a quorum in the parliament, clashes between government forces and the opposition are likely to continue. Although the government has not implicated foreigners in the unrest, the various security incidents, mainly in Bangkok, present a security concern and can disrupt operations in the country.

Venezuela

Similarly, Venezuela has recently seen large protests against the government, which President Maduro has already called an “evolving coup”. Mentions of foreign interference have also been broadcast by the media. Recent news reports have indicated that three US embassy officials have been given 48 hours to leave the country, accused of “trying to infiltrate Venezuelan universities under the cover of doing visa outreach.” In the latest clashes, at least three people were killed, and the opposition leader has recently been arrested. This is certain to increase the tension between the government and the opposition.

In both countries the political unrest is likely to continue for the foreseeable future, as neither the government nor opposition forces seem likely to resort to conciliatory measures. Humanitarian organisations in Venezuela and Thailand should therefor expect heightened security concerns, not only for expatriates but also local staff.

 

SOURCES:

Thailand

2014 Thailand General Elections, IFES, 20 February 2014, http://www.ifes.org/Content/Galleries/T/Thailand-2014-General-Elections.aspx

Why Thai political unrest is not just more of the same, Global Risk Insights, 18 February 2014, http://globalriskinsights.com/2014/02/18/why-thai-political-unrest-is-not-just-more-of-the-same/

4 killed, 64 hurt in Thailand unrest, The Times of India, 18 February 2014, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/4-killed-64-hurt-in-Thailand-unrest/articleshow/30629525.cms

After disrupting Thailand election, protesters pledge more demonstrations, CNN, 3 February 2014, http://edition.cnn.com/2014/02/03/world/asia/thailand-election/

Thailand unrest: Protesters throw general election into chaos, The Independent, 2 February 2014, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/thailand-unrest-protesters-force-hundreds-of-polling-stations-shut-as-tension-grips-elections-9102099.html

Venezuela

Growing protests in Venezuela threaten Maduro’s authority, Global Risk Insight, 19 February 2014, http://globalriskinsights.com/2014/02/19/growing-protests-in-venezuela-threaten-maduros-authority/

Venezuelan government expels three US diplomats, El Universal, 17 February 2014, http://english.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/140217/venezuelan-government-expels-three-us-diplomats

Venezuelan Opposition Leader Says He Will Risk Arrest, Wall Street Journal, 16 February 2014, http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304899704579387652813436322?mg=reno64-wsj

Venezuela student protest ends in deadly violence, BBC, 13 February 2014, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-26166094

Nicolás Maduro Says Venezuela Facing ‘Evolving Coup,’ Orders Arrest Of Opposition Leaders, Latin Times, 13 February 2014, http://www.latintimes.com/nicolas-maduro-says-venezuela-facing-evolving-coup-orders-arrest-opposition-leaders-152226

Background Information:

Thailand: Conflict Alert, International Crisis Group, 13 January 2014, http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/publication-type/alerts/2014/thailand-conflict-alert.aspx

Venezuela: A House Divided, International Crisis Group, 16 May 2013, http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/latin-america-caribbean/andes/venezuela/b028-venezuela-a-house-divided.aspx

Issue Guide: Venezuela’s Challenging Next Chapter, Council on Foreign Relations, 15 April 2013, http://www.cfr.org/venezuela/issue-guide-venezuelas-challenging-next-chapter/p30439

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