Following his death on March 5, Hugo Chávez left behind a country suffering from massive inflation, chronic food shortages, frequent blackouts, and the world’s second-highest murder rate—a country that, despite having the largest proven oil reserves on earth, must import gasoline. Chávez also left behind a quasi-imperial network of authoritarian client states scattered across Latin America and the Caribbean.
Now, in the aftermath of a disputed presidential election, Venezuelan officials are struggling to maintain their autocratic political system and keep the Chávez revolution afloat. Meanwhile, countries throughout the region are wondering how much longer chavismo will survive.
Is Venezuela headed for a major financial crisis? Will Venezuelans be able to rebuild their economy and their democracy? How can the United States help them? How will Chávez’s death affect nations such as Cuba and Nicaragua, which have become dependent on Venezuelan economic subsidies? How will his death affect the populist governments in countries like Bolivia and Ecuador?
On May 8, Hudson Institute’s Center for Latin American Studies, in conjunction with the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, hosted a discussion of the Chávez legacy. A panel of distinguished experts considered this timely situation.
Ambassador Jaime Daremblum, Hudson Senior Fellow and Director of Hudson Center for Latin American Studies, made introductory remarks.
Hudson Institute is grateful to the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation for their generous support for this series of conferences.