WOLA Senior Fellow David Smilde recently spoke at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. Watch the full video here:

Event Description:

Venezuela’s economy is in free fall. GDP has declined almost 26 percent over the last three years, inflation is above 500 percent and poverty rates are rapidly rising. The government has become increasingly authoritarian, causing Venezuela to be classified by Freedom House as “not free” for the first time in 2017 — one of the few reversals of democracy in the region since the 1980s. Although there was a glimpse of hope for a more democratic Venezuela when the opposition won a majority in 2015, legislators have been completely sidelined by President Nicolás Maduro, who exerts total control of the country through the military and the courts even as his approval rating drops to 18 percent.

As part of the Latin America Initiative’s Vecinos Lecture Series, a panel of experts analyzed the political and economic climate and explored potential scenarios for Venezuela’s future.


Alejandro Grisanti, Ph.D. (click here to view slides of the speaker’s presentation)
Director, Ecoanalítica; Head of Strategy, Knossos Asset Management

Francisco Monaldi, Ph.D. (click here to view slides of the speaker’s presentation)
Fellow in Latin American Energy Policy, Baker Institute; Founding Director, Center for Energy and the Environment, IESA

David Smilde, Ph.D.
Charles A. and Leo M. Favrot Professor of Human Relations, Tulane University; Senior Fellow, Washington Office on Latin America


Erika de la Garza
Program Director, Latin America Initiative, Baker Institute