Economy • Venezuela remains highly dependent on oil revenues, which account for roughly 95% of export earnings, about 55% of the federal budget revenues, and around 30% of GDP • Continued efforts to increase the government's control of the economy by nationalizing firms in the agribusiness, financial, construction, oil, and steel sectors have hurt the private investment environment, reduced productive capacity, and slowed non-petroleum exports. • Real GDP growth: -3.2 (2009) -1.5% (2010) 4.2 (2011) • 2012- 5.7% • Many Venezuelans live in poverty despite the oil revenue • inflation, running at 21% by the end of 2012.
Democracy in Venezuela • Leftist Dr. Rómulo Betancourt and the Democratic Action Party won a majority of seats in a constituent assembly to draft a new constitution in 1946. • A well-known writer, Rómulo Gallegos, candidate of Betancourt's party, became Venezuela's first democratically elected president in 1947.
Coup and Jimenez • Within eight months, Gallegos was overthrown by a military-backed coup led by Marcos Peréz Jiménez • Jiminez was ousted himself in 1958 and new election occurred the following year.
The Left emerges • Betancourt served from 1959–1964 • Rafael Caldera Rodríguez, president from 1969 to 1974, legalized the Communist Party and established diplomatic relations with Moscow. This was the 1st leftist president ever elected in Venezuela
Oil and Perez • Venezuela benefited from the oil boom of the early 1970s. • In 1974, President Carlos Andrés Pérez took office, and in 1976 Venezuela nationalized foreign-owned oil and steel companies, offering compensation.
Campins and collapse • Luis Herrera Campíns became president in 1978. • Declining world oil prices in the 1980s sent Venezuela's economy into a tailspin and dramatically increased the country's foreign debt.
Perez returns and impeached • Pérez was reelected to a nonconsecutive term in 1988. • Perez accepted an IMF proposal which offered Venezuela a loan for 4.5 billion • Military officers staged two unsuccessful coup attempts in 1992 • The following year Congress impeached Pérez on corruption charges.
Inherited crisis • President Rafael Caldera Rodríguez was elected in Dec. 1993. • He inherited to the 1994 collapse of half of the country's banking sector, falling oil prices, foreign debt repayment, and inflation. • He accepted 4.5 billion in IMF aid as was labeled as “neoliberal” by his opponenets
Hugo emerges • Leftist president Hugo Chavez took office in 1999, pledging political and economic reforms to give the poor a greater share of the country's oil wealth. • Hugo Chavez, proclaimed a "Bolivarian revolution", named after South America's independence hero.
Consolidating Power • A constituent assembly was formed to rewrite the constitution in July 1999, followed by the creation of a constitutional assembly made up of Chavez's allies that replaced the democratically elected Congress. • Chavez's assumption of greater power prompted charges that he is establishing a left-wing dictatorship.
Chavez’s allies • He was criticized for courting countries which attracted US or international disapproval, namely Cuba, Saddam Hussein's Iraq, Libya, and more recently, Iran.
Chavez in power and networking • Chavez was reelected to a six-year term in July 2000. • Troops were called in to quell serious protests over the election in several cities. • In 2000 Chavez visited other OPEC countries, becoming the first foreign head of state to visit Iraq since the 1991 Gulf War. • He developed a close relationship to President Fidel Castro of Cuba, which receives Venezuelan oil at reduced prices.
Coup • In Dec. 2001, business and labor organizations held a work stoppage to protest Chavez's increasingly authoritarian government. • In April 2002, tensions reached a boiling point as workers reduced oil production to protest Chavez's policies. • Following a massive anti-Chavez demonstration during which 12 people were killed, a coalition of business and military leaders forced Chavez from power. • But international criticism of the coup, especially in Latin America, and an outpouring of support from the president's followers returned Chavez to power just two days later.
Chavez and his poor • After the coup, Chavez remained highly popular among the poor, despite the desperate state of the economy. • Venezuelan labor unions, business organizations, the media, and a good part of the military remained substantially less enchanted.
Strikes and referendums • Beginning in early Dec. 2002, a general strike was called by business and labor leaders. By Jan. 2003 it had virtually brought the economy, including the oil industry, to a halt. • Strike leaders pledged to continue until Chavez resigned or agreed to early elections. But in Feb. 2003, after nine weeks, the strikers conceded defeat. • In Aug. 2003, a petition with 3.2 million signatures was delivered to the country's election commission, demanding a recall referendum on Chavez. • The Chavez government challenged the referendum process rigorously, and petitions submitted in Sept. 2003 and Feb. 2004 were rejected as invalid. • The electoral board finally accepted a petition in June 2004 and scheduled the referendum for August 15.
More popular than ever • Chavez, who had been shoring up his standing with the Venezuelan poor during the delays, won the referendum with an overwhelming 58% of the vote. • The opposition alleged fraud, but international observers confirmed that there had been no irregularities. • Chavez's hand was clearly strengthened, and by the spring of 2005, his popularity rating reached 70%, due in large part to his social spending programs. • In Dec. 2005 parliamentary elections, Chávez's party won 114 of 167 seats, and the remaining seats were won by his allies. • The opposition boycotted the election, maintaining they could not trust the pro-Chavez National Electoral Council. President Chávez won reelection in Dec. 2006 with 63% of the vote.
Adding power • In early 2007, Chávez took significant steps to further consolidate his power and move Venezuela closer to becoming a socialist state. • He announced the nationalization of major energy and telecommunications companies. • Days later, the National Assembly voted to allow Chávez to rule by decree for 18 months. • In May, Chávez shut down the main opposition television station, RCTV, which has been critical of the government. • The National Assembly voted in August to abolish presidential term limits.
Venezuela and Colombia • Due to the Colombian alliance with the U.S. Alvaro Uribe withdrew his support of Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez • Chávez subsequently withdrew the Venezuelan ambassador to Colombia
Rare defeat • On December 3, 2007, a referendum that was widely expected to pass was rejected by voters, 51% to 49%, following weeks of uncharacteristic public protests and campaigning against the package put forward by Chávez. • The proposed 69 amendments to the constitution included abolishment of presidential term limits, removal of the Central Bank's autonomy, which would have given Chávez new power to build a socialist economy, and a few that enjoyed wide support, including reducing the work day to six hours and offering pensions to street vendors and housewives. • “I will not withdraw even one comma of this proposal, this proposal is still alive," Chávez said. "For me, this is not a defeat.“ • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDaSJ23DRjs
Time Change? • Chávez instituted a time change on December 9, 2007, which put Venezuela a half-hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time. The government claimed it was a health measure to improve the lives of Venezuelans by exposing them to more sunlight.
Intelligence reform • As part of his continued campaign to assume complete authoritarian control over the country, President Chávez implemented a new intelligence law in May 2008, and replaced the country's old intelligence agencies with two new self-governed agencies called the General Intelligence Office and General Counterintelligence office. • The new intelligence law requires citizens to assist the new agencies, or else face incarceration. • Chávez claimed that the new law was necessary to guarantee "national security" in the face of alleged intimidation and possible attacks from the United States. • On June 7, 2008, Chávez reversed the new intelligence policies, acknowledging the intense opposition and extensive criticism from the Venezuelan people.
Total control • On July 31, 2008—the last day that Chávez had legislative power—he approved 26 new laws that significantly increased his control, enabling him to delegate regional leaders with separate budgets, create a new military branch, and temporarily control private companies, among other powers. • On Sept. 4, in the latest of many of private company takeovers by the government, the Venezuelan parliament voted to give Chávez control of the country's fuel distribution. • Chavez won a decisive referendum in February 2009, giving him the ability to him to run for re-election indefinitely. • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkmETcsNuas
Losing his grip • In September 2010 parliamentary elections, opposition parties won a narrow majority of the vote, taking 5.7 million votes to 5.4 million for Chavez's United Socialist Party. • A gerrymandered electoral system awarded Chavez's supporters 98 of the 165 seats in the National Assembly, but he will no longer have the two-thirds majority required for laws affecting constitutional rights and for judicial appointments
Cancer • In early June 2011, while visiting Cuba, Chavez was hospitalized. Doctors there removed a baseball-sized cancerous tumor. • On June 30, Chavez appeared in a televised address and confirmed suspicion that he was battling cancer. • He spoke to the nation from a medical facility in Cuba where he had been for three weeks. He did not say when he would return, nor did he name a substitute in his absence. Political opponents of Chavez argued that it was unconstitutional for him to govern from a foreign country.
Back to work • By July 7, 2011, Chavez had returned to Venezuela and was back at work, presiding over cabinet meetings and addressing soldiers at a promotion ceremony. • He returned in time to celebrate Venezuela's 200th anniversary of its independence and vowed publicly to beat cancer. • In late July, he returned to Cuba and completed a second phase of cancer treatment. After the treatment, the doctors did not detect any malignant cells in his body.
Kidnapped • On November 9, 2011, Wilson Ramos, a catcher for the Washington Nationals, was kidnapped by several men outside his parents' home in Venezuela. • Kidnappings have been a problem for Venezuela over the last few years • The country has one of the world's highest kidnapping rates. An estimated 17,000 people were kidnapped in Venezuela between July 2008 and July 2009. • On November 12, 2011, two days after Ramos was taken, Venezuelan police commandos rescued him during a gunfight. Eight people were charged in the kidnapping
Fighting words • In December 2011, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States met for a two day summit in Caracas. • At the summit President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua and President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela called for an end to the Monroe Doctrine. • Before the summit officially began, Ortega said, "We are sentencing the Monroe Doctrine to death."
Cancer returns in time for election • In February 2012, President Hugo Chavez announced that the cancer he was diagnosed with in 2011 had returned. • On Feb. 24, Chavez returned to Cuba for more surgery. After the surgery, from Havana, he said that the tumor removed from his pelvic region was malignant and that he would begin radiation treatment soon. • Also in February 2012, millions of voters chose Henrique CaprilesRadonski to challenge Chavez in the presidential election on October 7, 2012. Capriles, the moderate governor of Miranda, received more than 1.8 million votes in February's primary; more than double the votes of anyone else in the running.
Chavez wins and dies • On 7 October 2012, Chávez won election with 54% of the votes versus 45% for Capriles • Turnout in the election was 80% • The inauguration of Chávez was postponed • Acting executive officials produced orders of government signed by Chávez,] • Due to the death of Chávez on March 5th, Vice President Nicolas Maduro took over the presidential powers and duties • A special election was held on April 14th to elect a new President, which Maduro won by a tight margin.
Protest • http://www.aljazeera.com/news/americas/2013/04/201341912592409346.html • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7K0EEAbdUs
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/21/world/americas/venezuela-faces-shortages-in-grocery-staples.html?_r=1&ref=venezuelahttp://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/21/world/americas/venezuela-faces-shortages-in-grocery-staples.html?_r=1&ref=venezuela • http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/02/world/americas/rival-marches-after-legislative-brawl-in-venezuela.html?ref=venezuela • http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/02/us-venezuela-capriles-idUSBRE95109K20130602