The man credited with pioneering the idea of 21st Century socialism, which was championed and put into application in Venezuela under Hugo Chávez, recently made a damning condemnation of current Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.
German sociologist and political analyst Heinz Dieterich said Maduro has a “complete inability to deal with the serious problems of the country.” He added that if the Venezuelan president doesn’t do something to rectify the economic and political problems facing his country soon, he could be out of office by April of 2014.
"Under that premise, we think [Maduro] will not get beyond March or April 2014. The scenarios of [his] possible fall are obvious: street demonstrations orchestrated from Washington and the right, or an alliance between the Armed Forces and the governors," he said, according to Venezuelan newspaper El Universal.
Dieterich, author of “The Socialism of the 21st Century and Latin America: From Colonization to Globalization with Noam Chomsky,” is viewed as the godfather of the political ideas put in place in Chávez’s Venezuela and later in countries like Bolivia and Ecuador.
The German intellectual, however, had a falling out with Chávez over the Venezuelan’s perceived lack of rigor and understanding when it came to the idea of 21st socialism.
The economic model implemented in 2003 by Chávez has now been exhausted, Dietrich argued, and now Venezuela is suffering from rising inflation and a possible moratorium on foreign payments.
Since assuming office after the death of Chávez earlier this year, and consequently winning a hurried election, Maduro has struggled with a plunging economy and political unrest from opposition lawmakers and politicians.
Banking giant JP Morgan released estimates last month that point to low growth and high inflation in 2013 and 2014. The calculation states that Venezuela’s consumer price index (NCPI) is likely to hit 45 percent in 2013, considerably above authorities' projections (14-16 percent).
Adding to the inflation woes is the drop in the country’s exchange rate with the U.S. dollar, with JP Morgan's estimating that it will move from 6.3 bolivars per dollar to 8.5 bolivars per dollar. The country’s economic growth is estimated to be around a meager 3 percent.
The news comes almost a month after a report that Venezuela's currency dropped by more than 75 percent since the death of Chávez back in March. Analysts said the country's instability and attempts to halt double-digit inflation are contributing to the steep drop in the value of the bolivar.
"The increase in government expenditures has a lot to do with this," Alejandro Arreaza, Latin America economist for Barclay's Bank in New York, told the L.A. Times. "Until last year we had seen relative stability in the currency markets."
Along with a fledgling economic situation, Maduro has been struggling with a soaring violent crime rate that he adopted from his Chávez. According to government figures, in 2012 there were more than 16,000 murders and the first quarter of 2013 killings totaled 3,400 – making the country one of the most dangerous in Latin America.
The murder rate doubled during Chavez’s 14-year-rule as cheap access to guns and an ineffective justice system fed a culture of violence in slums like Petare, parts of which have become no-go zones for outsiders. Chávez banned gun sales, expanded a new national police force and stepped up policing and other programs in high-crime areas.
In May, Maduro deployed 3,000 troops on the streets, starting in the Caracas area and expanding to the states of Zulia, Lara and Carabobo.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.