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Venezuela. Historical Background Unstable and coup prone until the mid-twentieth century Unstable and coup prone until the mid-twentieth century Strong.

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Presentation on theme: "Venezuela. Historical Background Unstable and coup prone until the mid-twentieth century Unstable and coup prone until the mid-twentieth century Strong."— Presentation transcript:

1 Venezuela

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3 Historical Background Unstable and coup prone until the mid-twentieth century Unstable and coup prone until the mid-twentieth century Strong role of caudillos and the military Strong role of caudillos and the military Discovery of oil in the 1920s Discovery of oil in the 1920s Development of strong parties, especially Democratic Action (AD) and Christian Democrats (COPEI) Development of strong parties, especially Democratic Action (AD) and Christian Democrats (COPEI) dictatorship followed by stable two party oligarchic rule; state capitalism dictatorship followed by stable two party oligarchic rule; state capitalism Pact of Punto Fijo Pact of Punto Fijo

4 The Dark Side of Electoral Democracy No political competition No political competition Corruption (fuelled even more by oil wealth) Corruption (fuelled even more by oil wealth) Oil led to high spending, which led to debt when oil prices fell Oil led to high spending, which led to debt when oil prices fell Despite spending, poverty had barely been dealt with Despite spending, poverty had barely been dealt with The 1980s (the lost decade in Latin America) was marked by rising discontent The 1980s (the lost decade in Latin America) was marked by rising discontent Move toward neoliberal policies in 1989 Move toward neoliberal policies in 1989

5 The Rise of Hugo Chávez Was part of a group of junior officers unhappy with the government and senior officers ties to it Was part of a group of junior officers unhappy with the government and senior officers ties to it Bolivarian Revolutionary Movement 200 Bolivarian Revolutionary Movement 200 Vision of an idyllic past, with the image of Simón Bolívar as leader, unifier, and visionary for the masses Vision of an idyllic past, with the image of Simón Bolívar as leader, unifier, and visionary for the masses Led failed coup attempt in 1992 and became a hero Led failed coup attempt in 1992 and became a hero

6 Hugo Chávez

7 Hugo Chávez as President Elected in 1998 Elected in 1998 Perfect example of populism Perfect example of populism Love him or hate himfew are indifferent Love him or hate himfew are indifferent Much debate over his intentions: was he socialist? Was he militaristic? Was he authoritarian? Much debate over his intentions: was he socialist? Was he militaristic? Was he authoritarian?

8 Pre-Chávez Economic Policies Market reform 1989 with IMF Under what conditions are citizens more likely to support market oriented economic reforms? (p.386) – –Compensation theory – –Rescue theory

9 Economic Policies Used presidential decrees to control the state oil company (trivia: when you buy Citgo, you are buying Venezuelan oil) Used presidential decrees to control the state oil company (trivia: when you buy Citgo, you are buying Venezuelan oil) Policies aimed at curbing large businesses and favoring small ones Policies aimed at curbing large businesses and favoring small ones Seizure of properties Seizure of properties Successes linked strongly to oil prices Successes linked strongly to oil prices Unemployment and poverty cast doubt on his claims of successhowever, no one else has done better Unemployment and poverty cast doubt on his claims of successhowever, no one else has done better

10 Political Change Since 1998 Wrote new constitution in 1999 Wrote new constitution in 1999 –most notably increased powers of the president & direct democracy Coup attempt in 2002 took him from office for about 24 hours (armed forces are split, but being purged) Coup attempt in 2002 took him from office for about 24 hours (armed forces are split, but being purged) Increased intimidation of political opposition and press Increased intimidation of political opposition and press

11 U.S.-Venezuelan Relations Chávez has been constantly criticized by the U.S. government Chávez has been constantly criticized by the U.S. government U.S. is concerned with his control over oil and his effort to become a Latin American leader (a la Simón Bolívar) U.S. is concerned with his control over oil and his effort to become a Latin American leader (a la Simón Bolívar) Very close relationship with Fidel Castro Very close relationship with Fidel Castro He likely learned from Fidel to use the U.S. as a means of maintaining support (Pat Robertson suits his purpose nicely) He likely learned from Fidel to use the U.S. as a means of maintaining support (Pat Robertson suits his purpose nicely)

12 Pat Robertson, 2005 He has destroyed the Venezuelan economy, and hes going to make that a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism all over the continent. I dont know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks were going to assassinate him, I think we really ought to go ahead and do it. Its a whole lot cheaper than starting a war...

13 Chávez supporters He cares for the people, especially the downtrodden (and those with darker skin) He cares for the people, especially the downtrodden (and those with darker skin) He is breaking up an old order based on money and corruption He is breaking up an old order based on money and corruption He is standing up to the U.S., which is acting as a bully He is standing up to the U.S., which is acting as a bully He is a revolutionary, which is why big business and the U.S. want to destroy him He is a revolutionary, which is why big business and the U.S. want to destroy him

14 Chávez opponents He is moving toward authoritarianism He is moving toward authoritarianism –Infringment on liberties –No freedom of press He simply wants more power for himself He simply wants more power for himself He is socialist in the Fidel Castro model He is socialist in the Fidel Castro model He does not accept opposition He does not accept opposition He is politicizing the military He is politicizing the military


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