Venezuela’s Continuing Crisis

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According to many analysts, Venezuela is on the brink of economic collapse. In 2015, GDP declined by as much as 10 percent and inflation, by some estimates, topped 200 percent. A chief cause of the woes, low oil prices, seems unlikely to change in 2016. At the same time, the government has yet to develop any coherent fiscal strategy as political turmoil and the realities of divided government—as a result of last December’s elections, the opposition now controls the National Assembly—become more pronounced. And the consequences of the crisis are increasingly clear, with spreading criminality and violence. Against this backdrop, the Inter-American Dialogue is pleased to feature a panel of experts to review Venezuela’s economic, political, and security situation.


Michael Penfold 

Professor of Political Economy


Michael Shifter

Inter-American Dialogue


Risa Grais-Targow

Senior Analyst
Eurasia Group

Kevin Casas-Zamora

Program Director, Peter D. Bell Rule of Law
Inter-American Dialogue



Michael Penfold is professor of political economy at IESA in Caracas and former director for public policy at CAF – Development Bank of Latin America. He is also the founder and executive director of Strata Apoyo Empresarial. Risa Grais-Targow is a senior analyst at Eurasia Group focusing on macroeconomic policy and politics in Venezuela. Kevin Casas-Zamora is the director of the Peter D. Bell Rule of Law Program at the Dialogue and an expert on citizen security.