Venezuela: The Survival Strategies of an Authoritarian Regime


Tuesday, March 6, 2018, 4:00pm to 6:00pm


CGIS South, S216, 1730 Cambridge Street

Speakers: Javier Corrales, Professor of Political Science, Amherst College; Risa Grais-Targow, Eurasia Group, Lead coverage of Venezuela Ecuador Central America and the Caribbean; and David Smilde, Senior Fellow at WOLA specializing in Venezuela and Professor of Human Relations Tulane University

Moderator: Steve Levitsky, Professor of Government, Harvard University

Javier Corrales is Dwight W. Morrow 1895 professor of Political Science at Amherst College in Amherst Massachusetts. He obtained his Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University. Corrales's research focuses on democratization and political economy of development. His work on Latin America has focused on presidential powers political parties economic reforms international relations and sexuality. He has published extensively on Venezuela Cuba and Argentina. His latest book Fixing Democracy: Constituent Assemblies and Presidential Powers in Latin America will be published by Oxford University Press in June 2018. He is the co-author with Michael Penfold of Dragon in the Tropics: Venezuela and the Legacy of Hugo Chávez (Brookings Institution Press 2015) now in its second edition; with Daniel Altschuler The Promise of Participation: Experiments in Participatory Governance in Honduras and Guatemala (Palgrave/Macmillan 2013) and with Carlos A. Romero U.S.-Venezuela Relations since the 1990s: Coping with Midlevel Security Threats (Routledge 2013). He is also the co-editor with Mario Pecheny of The Politics of Sexuality in Latin America: A Reader on GLBT Rights (University of Pittsburgh Press 2010) and author of Presidents without Parties: the Politics of Economic Reform in Argentina and Venezuela in the 1990s (Penn State University Press 2002). His research has been published in academic journals such as Comparative Politics Comparative Political Studies World Development Political Science Quarterly International Studies Quarterly World Policy Journal Latin American Politics and Society Journal of Democracy Latin American Research Review Studies in Comparative International Studies Current History and Foreign Policy. He is also working on a book manuscript on constitutional reforms in Latin America.

Risa Grais-Targow leads Eurasia Group's coverage of Venezuela Ecuador Central America and the Caribbean. In this capacity she helps clients to understand riskier markets that are often characterized by opaque institutions and volatile politics. She worked closely with clients to help them navigate the post-Chavez era in Venezuela including the prospect for meaningful economic reform and the government's commitment to servicing its debt amid rising liquidity constraints. She is currently focused on Venezuela's deepening economic and political crisis and the preferences of key stakeholders. She is also working with clients to navigate opportunities and challenges in Cuba as it gradually opens. Her sectoral expertise includes the oil gas electricity and mining sectors. Risa who holds a master's degree in international economics and Latin American studies from Johns Hopkins' School of Advanced International Studies previously covered Latin America for the US Department of Treasury Alcoa Inc. the Albright Stonebridge Group the Institute of International Finance and Dow Jones Newswires. She earned her bachelor's degree in political science and Latin American studies from Bard College. A native Californian who is fluent in Spanish Risa is an avid cook who enjoys traveling off the beaten path.

David Smilde is a senior fellow at WOLA specializing in Venezuela. He is the Charles A. and Leo M. Favrot Professor of Human Relations at Tulane University and moderates the WOLA Venezuela Politics and Human Rights blog. His research focuses on social movements human rights and culture in Venezuela. He is currently working on a book manuscript called Venezuela’s Transition to Socialism: Politics and Human Rights under Chávez 2008-2012. Professor Smilde has researched Venezuela for the past twenty years. He has taught at the Universidad Central de Venezuela and the Universidad Católica Ándres Bello. From 2010-2012 he was the Chair of the Venezuelan Studies Section of the Latin American Studies Association.His edited volume (with Daniel Hellinger) Venezuela’s Bolivarian Democracy: Participation Politics and Culture under Chávez (Duke 2011) looks at forms of citizen participation in contemporary Venezuela. His book (with Margarita Lopez Maya and Keta Stephany) Protesta y Cultura en Venezuela: Los Marcos de Acción Colectiva en 1999 (FACES-UCV 2002) looks at Street protest in the first year of the Chávez government.

Presented in collaboration with the Latin American Caucus at HKS