~ A Report Following the Presidential Election ~
Join us as our panelists, who have just returned from the region,discuss not only the April 14 election results, but also the challenges facing Venezuelans and the prospects for a renewal of economic freedom in their nation
Venezuela’s new President confronts daunting challenges. When former President Hugo Chavez took power in 1999, the Venezuelan economy was rated at 54 points out of 100 according to The Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal's annual Index of Economic Freedom. That was good enough to land the country among the ranks of the world’s “somewhat free” economies. Today Venezuela’s economy is rated at only 36 points. This nearly 20-point plunge is the most severe recorded over that period. In the 2013 Index, the Venezuelan economy is the 174th freest in the world out of 177 countries. Venezuela is now one of the most repressed economies in the globe along with North Korea and Zimbabwe. Regionally, it ranks 28th out of 29 countries in Latin America, just ahead of Cuba.
Extensive structural and institutional problems face the new government. Corruption is prevalent. The rule of law is weak. The state’s presence in economic activity has increased through nationalization of industry. Regulatory and judicial frameworks obstruct prospects for long-term development. The lack of access to financing precludes entrepreneurial growth. Clearly, Venezuela needs urgent reforms, but institutional change takes time, effort, determination, and, above all, dedicated reformers.
For more information, read the paper Venezuela: U.S. Should Push President Maduro Toward Economic Freedom
More About the Speakers
Director for Latin America, Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE)
Visiting Fellow for Latin America, The Heritage Foundation, and Director, POPULI, Santa Cruz, Bolivia
James M. Roberts
Research Fellow For Economic Freedom and Growth