The "Pink tide" that swept across Latin America in the early part of the 21st century motivated political economists to develop a litany of theories to explain economic policy decisions under leftist governments in Latin America. And for the past fifteen years or so, these theories have done a fairly good job of driving scholarship on Latin America.
The 17th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) this September resulted in another humiliation for crisis-stricken Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro when only about 10 heads of state showed up.1 The NAM, an anti-imperialist bloc of 120 nations whose last summit in Iran in 2012 drew 35 heads of state, first convened in 1961 with the goal of combating Western domination.2 Maduro’s opposition called the embarrassingly low attendance a “devastating failure” for Maduro.3 This is just one of a slew of recent difficulties
The Barbie Doll, possibly the most commonly criticized, iconic American toy is currently being kept at a historically and artificially low price by the anti-capitalist government in Venezuela, just in time for holiday shopping. What cost mothers and grandmothers up to three weeks minimum wage pay last Christmas (3500 bolivars) is now only about 250 bolivars or USD $3 using the bolivar-to-dollar black market conversion rate.
For Venezuela, a country whose economy desperately depends on its oil industry, the fall in the price of oil continues to wreak economic havoc. Oil exports constitute 96% of the country’s export earnings, and according to the Venezuelan Ministry of Petroleum and Mining, the end of 2014 saw Venezuelan crude oil prices fall to USD 47.05 per barrel compared to USD 95 in September 2014.
Global oil prices are plummeting and they are falling fast. As a result, Venezuela, which has the world’s largest known crude oil supplies, is left with an economy that is barrelling out of control. On January 22, Venezuela's oil price fell to $21.50 a barrel, compared to over $100 a barrel in 2014 (Yahoo News, 2015). As prices continue to fall, Venezuela’s surplus of oil stocks grow. Rising oil surplus, however, does not translate into food, medical supplies, and political and domestic stability in Venezuela, as President Maduro is quickly finding out.