Into the shadows: Sanctions, rentierism and the transformation of the Venezuelan economy

Lunch seminar with Antulio Rosales and Benedicte Bull from Centre for Development and the Environment at the University of Oslo.

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USA announcing sanctions against the Venezuelan state-owned compnay PDVSA. Photo: The White House, Wikimedia Commons

Sign up for the event! (free of charge and open to all) - A light lunch will be served.


The seminar is based on a paper written for a Special Issue of the European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies.


Since 2017, the United States have imposed a number sanctions with significant impact on the Venezuelan economy (including financial-, oil, - and gold-sanctions). These are added to a number of individual sanctions against supporters of Nicolás Maduro's regime,  a weapons embargo from 2006 and other minor sanctions imposed by other countries. The main debate about these sanctions have been about their humanitarian impact and whether they are effective means to support a return to constitutional rule. In this paper we study the structural impact of sanctions. We focus on how they have contributed to a transformation of the Venezuelan economy, focusing on four sectors: Hydrocarbons, industry, agriculture and "emerging sectors" (mining and cryptomining). We find that it is difficult to disentangle the effect of sanctions from prior economic policies, institutional decay and counter strategies by the government and the private sector. Nevertheless, a common effect is that the sanctions have contributed to an informalizaton and, in some cases, criminalization of the economy. This has potential long term consequences for development and democracy.



Postdoctoral Fellow Antulio Rosales and Professor Benedicte Bull both work at the  Centre for Development and the Environment at the University of Oslo.



Published Oct. 30, 2019 10:53 AM