Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas
Chavez Funeral_Juan Victor Fajardo 510x340

In Aftermath of Venezuela’s Protests, Whither Chavismo?

The wave of social unrest that hit several cities in Venezuela in February and March is nothing new for a country that has been deeply polarized politically since Hugo Chávez assumed the presidency in 1998. What is different this time is that Chávez—who died of cancer in March 2013—is no longer around, and the protests … Read more


AQ Slideshow: Venezuela’s Colectivos

Caracas has been the scenario of violent clashes between Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s government forces and opposition groups, led mainly by opposition politician Leopoldo López, since February 12. So far, the conflict has left at least 41 people dead, and armed chavista groups—nicknamed “colectivos”—have been blamed for many of the casualties. However, members of the … Read more

Venezuela protests 510x340

Can Venezuela’s Economic Strategy Keep Protests From Spreading?

As protests continue in Venezuela, the government of President Nicolás Maduro has sought to delegitimize protests and isolate them in middle-class areas in the hope that they will burn out.  The president’s rhetoric aims at inciting poorer citizens against student and middle-class protesters, who he blames for food shortages, and soaring inflation and by “sabotaging … Read more


Safe Streets, Safe Cities

Discussions of sustainable cities tend to focus on environmental goals such as developing eco-friendly architecture, recycling, and improving the resiliency of urban infrastructure systems. But public or citizen security is an equally important aspect of building a sustainable city. Often, it is the issue that tops the list of citizens’ concerns—and with good reason. Violent … Read more

Rafael Ramirez PDVSA_lubrio 510x340

The PDVSA Post-Chávez: Will Partnerships with the Private Sector and Chinese Experts Boost Oil Production?

Throughout 2012, and especially after President Hugo Chávez’ death in early March 2013, Venezuela’s national oil firm, Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA), has taken measures beyond anything done in the past decade to raise its lagging production. While the likely impact merits cautious analysis, the drivers of the Bolivarian Republic’s scramble for increased oil revenues … Read more


AQ Slideshow: A Venezuelan Skyscraper’s Unlikely Tenants

The Caracas highrise known as “Torre de David” was supposed to be the biggest financial center in Venezuela. Officially named Torre Cofinanzas—but better known as “David’s Tower,” in honor of its developer, David Brillemburg—60 percent of the building was left unfinished after the company that owned the project went bankrupt in 1994. For the next … Read more

Venezuela Student Protest_Diario Contraste 510

The Protests in Venezuela Should Not be Overlooked

Over the last week, Brazil’s protests have captured headlines worldwide.  But Brazil is not the only South American country engulfed in protests.  Since early June, Venezuela has been witnessing a series of protests involving the university sector.  As with the public demonstrations in Brazil, the protests in Venezuela are a sign of deep political problems.  … Read more


AQ Slideshow: Venezuelans Cast Their Vote

In the early morning of April 14, Venezuelan voters went to the polls to decide whether Nicolás Maduro or Henrique Capriles Radonski would become the country’s next president. Voter participation started slowly in several neighborhoods in eastern Caracas, but eventually, more than 78 percent of Venezuela’s registered voters cast their ballots. With 99 percent of … Read more


Electoral Irregularities under Chavismo: A Tally

This is a draft document and part of an ongoing project on electoral irregularities in Venezuela.  Please help improve this document by reporting any errors and omissions to jcorrales@amherst.edu.  Just days ahead of the first post-Chávez election since 1998, Venezuela’s opposition candidate, Henrique Capriles, has made electoral irregularities a major issue in his campaign.  Claiming … Read more


Venezuela: Timidity and Sub-Standard Election Observation

Last week, the Human Rights Foundation called on the Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, to urge the National Electoral Council (CNE) of Venezuela to invite an OAS electoral observation mission to monitor the upcoming April 14 presidential elections.  An OAS mission—along the lines of what it used to field in … Read more

Chavez funeral crowd_Juan Victor Fajardo 510x340

Did Chávez Help the Poor?

In a recent opinion piece, Venezuelan-American author Eva Golinger proclaimed the late Hugo Chávez was “a maker of dreams.” Chávez, she says, dreamt of eradicating poverty, and made those dreams come true. Much of what has been written—including by people critical of his legacy—repeats the same conclusion: Chávez improved the lives of the poor. Sadly, … Read more


AQ Slideshow: Venezuelans Wait Hours to View Chávez

Click here to view an expanded version of the slideshow. Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez’ body is being moved today from the Military Academy of Caracas to the city’s military museum, marking the end of a nine-day open casket service that has drawn thousands of the late president’s followers to the capital city. The lines of … Read more


AQ Slideshow: Venezuelans Pay Their Respects to Hugo Chávez

Click here to view an expanded version of the slideshow. Throughout the day on Wednesday, enormous crowds took to the streets of Caracas to join the president’s procession from the hospital in which he died to the military academy. The impressive procession traversed eight kilometers of the capital city and lasted seven hours, flooding major … Read more


The Economic Reality Facing Nicolás Maduro

Hugo Chávez engineered an electoral budget boom on steroids to win the 2012 presidential election. His economic strategy resulted in a significant appreciation of the real exchange rate, an increase in imports to a historical peak, and a considerable increase in public wages. Facing a strong contender in Henrique Capriles—and the limits to his campaign … Read more

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