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How Cuba protests could affect Venezuela

Anti-government protests in Cuba may affect Venezuela's future, as the government seems likely to slow any progress toward a deal with forces led by Juan Guaidó, the Crisis Group's Phil Gunson tweeted Monday.

Gunson, an analyst who focuses on Venezuela, noted that Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro's government surrounded Guaidó's residence on Monday after earlier arresting another prominent opposition figure, Freddy Guevara. Caracas is apparently accusing the opposition of involvement in an alleged plot with a criminal gang, but it's possible the events in Cuba are connected to the latest attempts to stifle Guaidó in Venezuela — many prominent U.S. politicians, including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), are confident that is the case — as Maduro may want to prevent any spillover. 

Either way, Gunson writes that "with unprecedented mass protests in Cuba, perceived by both Havana and Caracas as an attack orchestrated by Washington, it seems likely that the momentum towards (slightly) freer elections and negotiations with the opposition in Venezuela may stall."

He added that "whether deliberately so or not," Monday's events in Venezuela send a "negative" message to the technical mission from the European that is in Caracas this week to scope out conditions for observing November's scheduled regional elections.