Venezuela has been in the headlines lately, with students taking to the streets to protest against the country’s economic situation and security challenges. This has been the greatest challenge to the administration since Hugo Chávez’s anointed success NicolásMaduro’s won elections one year ago. Maduro’s first year has been marked by serious economic challenges, including annual inflation exceeding 50 percent a year, increased shortages of basic goods, declining industrial output, and increased pressure on the private sector. Further, Maduro’s narrow margin of victory one year ago deprived him of a mandate, putting him on shaky footing as the first leader of Chavismo without Chávez.
In the context of these protests – in which more than 40 people have died since February – it is worth pondering Venezuela’s current situation, and where the country will go from here. LBC consulted with a number of experts on the topic, including Diego Moya Ocampos, Senior Country Risk Analyst, Americas at IHS Global Insights, and Luisa Palacios, Head of Latin America Macro and Energy Research at Medley Global Advisors. Further insight was gathered from Javier Corrales, Professor of Political Science at Amherst College and Alejandro Grisanti, Head of Research and Strategy for Latin America at Barclays Capital Inc., who shared their views in a panel at the Americas Society/Council of the Americas in New York City moderated by AS/COA Senior Director of Policy Chris Sabatini.