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.
For anybody who lived in Venezuela in the periods before and after Hugo Chávez’s death on 5 March 2013, these were strange and intense times. After a protracted battle with cancer and a final address to the nation televised on 16 December 2013, the man whose image and voice had been a constant feature in the nation’s imaginary and daily life —among opponents and supporters alike— was gone.
2015 has been a difficult year for Venezuela, with falling oil prices and a tumbling economy, inflation has risen to 100% and there are constant shortages of basic goods.2 People have been taking to the streets to protest the government and its handling of the crisis, which in many instances it refuses to acknowledge. President Nicolás Maduro, who is a member of the same socialist party as his predecessor Hugo Chávez, has not been managing the various crises well.
Venezuela has long been labeled the rebel in Latin America, holding on to a socialist identity since Hugo Chávez first brought his social revolution to fruition in the country. Part of this social revolution was providing poor Venezuelans with social services, namely health care. Though a popular idea, Venezuela has never truly been able to maintain the necessary resources and services to create an effective health care system. As a result, tens of thousands of citizens lack access to health care, medicine, and life-saving treatments.
The recent impeachment scandal occurring in Brazil stemming from President Dilma’s alleged involvement in the Lava-Jato scandal has resurrected stories from past impeachment scandals around Latin America.
Salsa y Control (1996) del periodista y escritor venezolano José Roberto Duque es un texto híbrido, que procede de modo fragmentario, trabajando con letras del cancionero popular caribeño y relatos de escenas de la vida cotidiana de los barrios urbano-marginales
Recently, Venezuela's black market economy has been “booming,” or rather, has been able to supply basic goods to consumers that the government no longer supplies on a regular basis. The economic crisis in Venezuela, which has brought on shortages of food and other goods, has become normal for citizens, but recently President Nicolás Maduro declared an economic state of emergency.
In light of the recent economic struggles that Venezuela has been facing under the leadership of President Nicolás Maduro, Venezuela has declared a state of economic emergency in an effort to keep their collapsing economy stable.
Anibal Pérez-Liñan, professor of political science at the University of Pittsburgh was recently honored with the award of Best Book of Comparative Democratization of 2014 by the American Political Science Association for Democracies and Dictatorships in Latin America: Emergence, Survival, and Fall. The book was co-authored by Scott Mainwaring of Notre Dame. I was fortunate to sit down with Professor Pérez-Liñan to discuss his book and the theories and issues that it poses.