Presentation by Tom O'Donnell, PhD
Hugo Chavez sustained his revolution with revenues from PDVSA, the Venezuelan national oil company to build "21st Century Socialism." Chavez showcased the state and "misiones" delivering services, medical care, food, education, and homes to the poor, and nearly free gasoline to all. On the other hand, opposition parties decry rising crime, failing medical care, high inflation, shortages of food and natural-gas, electricity failures, and record gasoline imports from the USA as evidence of PDVSA's decline.
What is the legacy of Hugo Chavez? Will the new Venezuelan president, elected on 14 April with the outcome now under dispute, be forced to enact major reforms, or will Hugo Chavez's oil-centric model of development persist?
Tom O'Donnell’s present work examines the political economy of a globalized energy sector, especially of petroleum, as a basis for understanding both U.S. geo-strategy and the trajectories of major oil-producing states. Dr. O’Donnell was a 2008 U.S. Fulbright Scholar to Venezuela, and in 2009 he continues his affiliation with the Centro de Estudios del Desarrollo at the Universidad Central de Venezuela (CENDES-UCV) in Caracas, studying the political economy of oil in the internal and external policies of the Bolivarian state. Dr. O’Donnell has often taught at Julien J. Studley Graduate Program in International Affairs. Sponsored by the Observatory in Latin America at GPIA.