Working to provoke discussion and provide up-to-date information and analysis on US-Venezuelan relations, politics, policies, and culture.

Professionals Exit Venezuela

Oil-rich Venezuela has experienced the kind of economic boom in recent years that should be flush with job opportunities. But an increasing number of professionals, many of them from the oil industry, are looking abroad for work, driven away by President Hugo Chávez's effort to extend state control over the economy, and by inflation verging on 20%.

Since his re-election in December, Mr. Chávez has pursued an agenda of "21st Century Socialism," painting a future of "communal cities" and state-run cooperatives dedicated to production, not profit.

"Chavez's electoral triumph and the radicalized discourse has increased the desire to emigrate," said Luis Vicente Leon, the head of Datanalisis, a Caracas polling firm.

Not everyone is dissatisfied. Mr. Chávez, who first took office in 1999, has gained a broad base of popular support among Venezuela's poor, largely by spending billions of dollars on social programs. And a newly rich class of Venezuelans with close connections to the government is likely to stick around as long as they can continue to profit from Mr. Chávez's rise.

Still, at the U.S. Embassy call center for visas in Caracas, the lines have been jammed since Mr. Chávez announced in early January the nationalization of the electricity industry and Venezuela's largest telecommunications firm. "It doubled practically overnight," said a U.S. diplomat.

Go to the full article here.


Post a Comment

<< Home