On March 1, 2018, the University of Illinois at Chicago welcomed a packed room of attendees for an event on Venezuela's political and socioeconomic crisis.
The death of President Hugo Chávez in 2013 and the fall of international oil prices produced a major political and socioeconomic crisis in Venezuela. The ensuing conflict between the government of President Nicolás Maduro, Chávez’s successor, independent Chavista sectors, opposition movements, and US-backed conservative elites over issues concerning democratic rule and national sovereignty is still unfolding. The deepening of the Venezuelan conflict has potentially dire implications for the entire hemisphere.
This event on current affairs in Venezuela—sponsored by the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Institute for the Humanities and Northwestern University’s Latin American and Caribbean Studies Center, and cosponsored by CLAS—brought together a panel of prominent scholars of the South American nation to discuss the historical causes of the crisis, the current situation, and the potential outcomes. The panel addressed the crucial question: Is a political solution to the Venezuelan crisis possible?
The panel featured: Alejandro Velasco (New York University), who offered a historical analysis of Chavismo, the Bolivarian movement, and the crisis; Verónica Zubillaga (Universidad Simón Bolívar, Caracas), who provided a lucid analysis on the inner dynamics of escalation of the conflict; and David Smilde (Tulane University), who proffered an analysis of the crisis in a hemispheric perspective that considers the United States and neighboring countries, as well as their role in a political and regional solution.
CLAS is grateful to organizers Lina Britto (History, Northwestern University) and Joaquín Chávez (History, University of Illinois at Chicago) for including us in this important event. We are pleased to be able to share full video of the discussion with our community.