There has always been a long history of dependence on the oil economy in Venezuela. Chavez came to power committed to diversifying, but these plans never came into fruition. It has created a situation where all the major benefits and improvements we saw delivered in the early 2000s - in health, in poverty reduction, in education - have now been reversed because they were completely unsustainable, because they couldn't be funded. This has been the biggest mistake of the Bolivarian revolution.
Latin America specialist Julia Buxton examines the historical and policy roots of Venezuela's current economic disaster, and explains why both the country's dysfunctional opposition and foreign attempts to challenge Chavismo not only undermine their own efforts, but destabilize and push the country further into crisis.
Julia wrote the article Situation Normal in Venezuela: All Fouled Up for NACLA Report on the Americas.