BY JUAN NAGEL
In 2013, Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution survived the death of Hugo Chávez. Now his successor, President Nicolás Maduro, confronts his toughest challenge yet: an economy on the brink. The latest in our series of Lab Reports on Venezuela.
In early December, Venezuelans went to the polls to elect mayors and local council members. After a disputed presidential election and months of economic hardship, many observers were predicting that the opposition would win the popular vote. Instead, the government’s forces won, solidifying President Nicolás Maduro’s hold on power.
Yet if Maduro’s grip is solid, why is Moody’s downgrading Venezuela’s bonds? Why is Venezuela’s bond spread the highest among emerging markets? The answer is simple: The Maduro regime, like glass, might appear strong, but it’s also brittle, increasingly vulnerable to the sharp shocks that are likely to come from a complicated political situation and a rapidly weakening economy.