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Video: Venezuela in 2020 — What to Expect?

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Speakers:

  • James Story, Chargé d'Affaires, Venezuela Affairs Unit, U.S. Embassy in Bogotá, Colombia
  • Michael Grant, Assistant Deputy Minister for the Americas, Department of Global Affairs of Canada
  • Beatriz Borges, Executive Director, The Justice and Peace Center (CEPAZ)
  • Jose E. Gonzales, Managing Partner, GCG Advisors
  • Francisco Monaldi, Fellow in Latin American Energy Policy and Director of the Latin America Initiative, Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University 
  • Eric Farnsworth, Vice President, AS/COA Washington
  • Maria Lourdes Gallo, Vice President, AS/COA Miami
  • Guillermo Zubillaga, Senior Director for Public Policy and Head of the Venezuela Working Group, AS/COA

The events of January 2020 were “watershed” moments for diplomat James Story of the U.S. State Department and ones that revealed the “desperation” of the Maduro regime. “There are a lot of smart people in this room. Not one of you knew that Evo Morales was gonna leave when he did. Not one of you thought that Milošević was done in Serbia. And not one of you knew that the Berlin Wall was gonna fall the week before it did. And those things all transpired,” said Story at an AS/COA event in Miami, adding that he’s ultimately optimistic change can come in Venezuela due to the cracks he sees in the chavista power structure. Canadian Ambassador Michael Grant was more circumspect, saying he believes democracy won’t return to the country in “a big bang” but rather through hard-fought incremental change, political leadership from within Venezuela, and redoubled international cooperation efforts. “Democracy was stolen from Venezuela. Human rights were stolen from Venezuela. Our common objective is to get that back. Venezuelans deserve that,” Grant said. A panel of experts highlighted the importance of putting Venezuela more squarely on the UN’s agenda, the state of Venezuela’s oil production and the investment needed to rebuild the sector, and the toll of hyperinflation on not just the economy but the country’s social fabric.