By Javier Corrales
Considering that he used to be first elected in 1999, Venezuelan President Hugo Ch?vez Frias has reshaped a frail yet still pluralistic democracy right into a semi-authoritarian regime—an final result completed with spectacularly excessive oil source of revenue and common electoral aid. This eye-opening publication illuminates the most sweeping and unforeseen political ameliorations in modern Latin the US. in accordance with greater than fifteen years’ adventure in studying and writing approximately Venezuela, Javier Corrales and Michael Penfold have crafted a finished account of the way the Ch?vez regime has made over the kingdom, with a selected specialise in its political transformation. all through, they take factor with traditional causes. First, they argue persuasively that liberal democracy as an establishment used to be to not blame for the increase of chavismo. moment, they assert that the nation's financial diseases weren't brought on by neoliberalism. as an alternative they blame different components, together with a dependence on oil, which triggered macroeconomic volatility; political social gathering fragmentation, which prompted infighting; executive mismanagement of the banking situation, which ended in extra centralization of strength; and the Asian difficulty of 1997, which devastated Venezuela's financial system even as that Ch?vez ran for president. it's possibly at the position of oil that the authors take maximum factor with triumphing opinion. they don't dispute that dependence on oil can generate political and monetary distortions—the “resource curse” or “paradox of lots” arguments—but they counter that oil on my own fails to provide an explanation for Ch?vez’s upward thrust. in its place they unmarried out a susceptible framework of assessments and balances that allowed the administrative department to extract oil rents and distribute them to the population. the genuine perpetrator at the back of Ch?vez’s luck, they write, used to be the asymmetry of political strength.
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Extra resources for Dragon in the tropics: Hugo Chávez and the political economy of revolution in Venezuela
The trick worked: the party leadership, especially those in elected office, immediately welcomed this modification, and the PSUV campaigned united, in contrast to the disarray that characterized the PSUV’s campaign in 2008. Heading into the February 2009 referendum, the PSUV enjoyed once again virtually unlimited access to public funds and, of course, the biased support of the CNE. Tibisay Lucena, president of CNE, agreed to organize the referendum even before it was formally approved by the legislature.
The Democratic Coordinating Unit called for a national strike on December 2, 2002. indd 23 11/17/10 9:21 PM 24 Rise of a Hybrid Regime, 1999–2009 the entire oil industry closed for the better part of three months. Venezuela’s oil production came to a standstill. In just a matter of weeks, the country plunged into an economic depression. Again, rather than negotiate, Chávez responded by punishing. He arbitrarily fired nearly 60 percent of the PDVSA personnel, including most managers, and assigned control of the oil industry to the military.
In response, the administration came up with several legal and administrative barriers to discourage the collection of signatures, another example of the use of institutional manipulation to confront electoral pressures. First, the CNE declared null and void the process whereby the opposition had initially gathered the required signatures with support from local civic associations specializing in electoral affairs. indd 24 11/17/10 9:21 PM Rise of a Hybrid Regime, 1999–2009â•‡â•‡ 25 F I G U R E 2 - 1 .