Lisa Viscidi is the director of the Energy, Climate Change & Extractive Industries Program at the Inter-American Dialogue. A specialist in Latin American energy issues, Viscidi has written numerous reports and articles on energy policy and regulations, oil and gas markets, climate change, sustainable transport, social and environmental impacts of natural resources development, and the geopolitics of energy in the region.
Before joining the Dialogue, she was New York bureau chief and Latin America team leader for Energy Intelligence Group and subsequently a manager in the energy practice at Deloitte. She has also served as director of EntreMundos, a nonprofit organization based in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.
Ms. Viscidi’s articles have been published in The Financial Times, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, Miami Herald, Houston Chronicle, and Foreign Affairs. She frequently presents at conferences and universities throughout the United States and Latin America and has been quoted by The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Reuters, and other news outlets. She was called to testify before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere in 2017. Viscidi received a Fulbright Specialist grant in 2017 to teach a course on climate change and environmental policy at the Universidad del Rosario in Bogotá. She currently serves on the Leadership Council for the National Capital Area Chapter of the U.S. Association for Energy Economics.
Viscidi conducted her undergraduate work in history at the George Washington University and the University of Barcelona and completed a master’s degree in Latin American studies with a focus on economic development and public policy from New York University. Viscidi speaks English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
A lack of transmission-line maintenance may have been the immediate trigger for the power outage that left much of Venezuela in darkness on March 7, but it is a symptom of almost two decades of government mismanagement that has debilitated Venezuela’s power sector, draining its reserves of both human and financial capital and nudging it towards collapse.
In a wide-ranging panel about current events in energy, Lisa Viscidi commented on the shift in the US energy trade balance and its effects on foreign policy, Chinese financing for foreign energy projects, the importance of upgrading transmission lines for expanding renewable power generation, and how the Green New Deal attempts to reframe the discussion on climate change in the US.
Venezuela’s longest-ever blackout, which began on March 7 and lasted until at least March 12 in most of the country, aggravated an already dire humanitarian situation. Lisa Viscidi presented to a special meeting of the OAS Permanent Council about how grave government mismanagement of the power sector debilitated Venezuela’s grid, making electricity rationing a routine and power failures commonplace.
The oil sanctions were imposed weeks ago and I think the [Trump] administration expected Maduro to have fallen by now […] Venezuela is struggling to find buyers for its crude oil, but it is still getting shipments into India and Europe so pressuring other countries and banks to more strictly impose US sanctions is one of the few options left.
The threat of sanctions has been floating around in the U.S. for many years. They were always worried about the fear that the humanitarian crisis would get worse because the economic situation would get worse without a guarantee there would be a positive change in government. That threat still exists — we still don’t know how this is going to end up.