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Venezuela's Unraveling

Venezuela is one of Latin America's most dynamic and troubled countries. It had been relatively stable during the administration of President Hugo Chavez, but when he died, stability died with him, aided in no small part but the fall of the price of oil. His successor, Nicolas Maduro, is now being challenged not only by Venezuelan citizens, who are angry as they struggle to obtain the most basic living staples and foodstuffs, but also by politicians inside and outside his own political party. His ruling party may not survive the coming collapse, but if it does, it will have the daunting challenge of trying to rebuild the economy.

Venezuela had been relatively stable during the administration of President Hugo Chavez, but when he died, stability died with him, aided in no small part but the fall of the price of oil.
(JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images)
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By understanding the underlying conditions that enabled the rise of strongmen like Argentina's Juan Domingo Peron or Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, we can more easily spot the early signs of populism flaring in the region once again.
Venezuelans gather at the departure area of the Simón Bolívar International Airport in Caracas.
The White House's pledge to put "America First" in its policymaking implies that the president has a responsibility to prioritize his country's problems over the rest of the world's.
The possibility of new U.S. sanctions against Venezuela's all-important oil sector threatens to thwart the Maduro administration's quest for constitutional revision and exacerbate unrest throughout the nation.
Opponents of Venezuela's constitutional assembly rally in Caracas after a symbolic vote against the measure. The vote to authorize the body that will rewrite the country's constitution will be held July 30.
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