Introduction

How did things go so wrong in Venezuela? In the 1970s, it was the wealthiest country in South America; oil profits were flowing in, and Venezuela was the host, not the source, of the region’s refugees. The picture looks very different today. Between 2013 and 2019, the Venezuelan economy shrank by more than half. Roughly 90 percent of the population now lives below the poverty line. Food and basic medicines are often unavailable or too expensive for all but a small elite, and Caracas is one of the most violent cities in the world. More than four million Venezuelans have fled their homes, …