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The Unraveling of Venezuela’s Populist Experiment: 2013-2019


Between 2013 and 2020, Venezuela suffered the worst economic contraction in recorded Latin American history. We explore the role that poor policies, political conflict ,and external pressure had on the country’s economic implosion. We contend that poor policy choices, while important as an explanation, are insufficient to account for the magnitude of the contraction. We argue that the worsening of the country’s political crisis led to the loss of access to financial and oil markets and ultimately to the imposition of US economic sanctions, which contributed significantly to deepening the country’s economic implosion.