Leadership and Democracy LabWestern Social Science

Venezuela

Economically, Venezuela is an oil dependent country. Their oil exports make up over half of the governments revenue and over three quarters of the country’s exports. As noted earlier, the current economic ideology follows one that is socialist. Despite this, Venezuela still operates with relatively low income tax rates. If the country hopes to solve its problem of stagflation, look for the government to raise taxes rates to gain more revenue. The reason why Venezuela is experiencing stagflation is because under the Chavez regime, most of the revenue from the Oil sales was put back into economy by subsidizing basic goods. However, with the government spending mass amounts of money, this led to an increase in the price of all other goods. To stop this, Chavez implemented price controls, which negatively effects business opportunity. 

The Military of Venezuela is built primarily from the Chávez era, as he held an aggressive approach to military acquisitions. Analysts sometimes refer to the military as the “Praetorian Guard” since it is under direct control of the president and not the armed forces. Chávez redefined what the militaries actions were and since taking over Maduro has continued this notion. The important aspect to take away from this section is that the military has had a successful hand in completing multiple coups against the government. This could be something to keep in mind as the uncertainty continues. 

International relations regarding Venezuela and its foreign policy are closely tied to its natural resources and economic trade. Despite the United States (U.S) being its biggest trading partner, their relationship has been quite complex. The U.S met the election of Chavéz with critical response, while Chavéz met the “War on Terror” critically. Venezuela’s relationship with China has been much more favorable compared to that of the United States. This in due in part to China assisting Venezuela in infrastructure development, including a railway joint venture worth 7.5 billion. Continuing on, Venezuela’s relationship with Russia is another positive relationship. Russian president Vladimir Putin was quoted as saying, “Our companies have vast investment plans valued at over $20 billion.” Locally, Venezuela’s relationships with its two biggest South American neighbours are strikingly different. Historically, Venezuela’s relationship with Columbia has been vacillate and currently still is, with Columbian president Juan Santos supporting Henrique Capriles, Maduro’s strongest challenger. Conversely, its relationship with Brazil has been quite constructive, mostly due to the countries agreeing on a new energy policy, which includes a joint oil refinery.  

Although brief, this summary has given the reader an insight into the changing paradigm within Venezuela. The issues discussed seem to be dividing the nation and with the recent anti-government protests, the divergence between the two groups only seems to be increasing.

Venezuela Country Profile 2013/2014