CIPR | Center For Inter-American Policy & Research

Tulane University

Dr. Steve Ellner Stresses Context in Evaluating Social and Economic Programs in Chavista Venezuela

On October 21st, CIPR welcomed Dr. Steve Ellner, visiting professor and research fellow, to present his talk entitled: “Populism and Pragmatism in Chavista Venezuela: The Pluses and Minuses of Social and Economic Programs.” Dr. Ellner is an esteemed professor of economic history and political science at the Universidad de Oriente in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela.

Dr. Ellner’s talk shed light on the evolution of Chavismo in Venezuela, with an emphasis on the origins of the economic problems currently facing Chavez’s successor Nicolas Maduro. As Dr. Ellner argues, Venezuela’s current economic climate is not simply the product of a downturn in global commodity prices, nor is it the result of Chavez’s inherently flawed socialist policies. Rather, it is the result of the complex interplay between the Chavez regime and his political opponents, and the pragmatic and populist policies that were borne out of this interaction.
A notable example of this process was the Chavez regime’s decision to grant preferential treatment to an emerging class of businesspeople who did not participate in the general strike of 2002-2003. Dr. Ellner argues that this decision was successful politically, but not economically, and that it led to widespread corruption, greatly contributing to Venezuela’s current economic problems.

Dr. Ellner’s work makes an important intervention in the study of Venezuela and 21st-century socialism in Latin America. Namely, he points out that social and economic policies must be considered in context, and the role of the opposition, particularly what he considered a disloyal opposition, must be taken into account when evaluating those policies.

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Latin America at the Crossroads: Peru

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Join CIPR for the third talk in the “Latin America at the Crossroads” series, this talk focuses on Peru. Voters rejected Keiko Fujimori, daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori, for president in the April 10, 2016 elections, but gave her party a majority in Congress. The election was marked by controversy and demonstrations, with many concerned that a win for Fujimori would mark a return to the human rights violations and corruption of the elder Fujimori’s presidency.

Dr. Cynthia McClintock, Professor of Political Science and International Afairs at George Washington University, will present on these recent events. Dr. McClintock is author of Peasant Cooperatives and Political Change in Peru (Princeton University Press, 1981) and Revolutionary Movements in Latin America: El Salvador’s FMLN and Peru’s Shining Path (U.S. Institute of Peace, 1998) and the co-author of The United States and Peru: Cooperation at a Cost (Routledge, 2003). A past President of the Latin American Studies Association, she has taught at the Catholic University in Peru, appeared on major U.S. and Peruvian news programs, and testified before the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Afairs of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The talk is free and open to the public but RSVP is required.

For more information and to reserve your seat, please contact Sefira Fialkof at cipr@tulane.edu or phone 504.862.3141.