Chavez’s 21st century socialism was built out of support from the poor and funded by high oil prices beginning in the early 2000’s. The ironic thing is that this experiment in 21st century socialism was only made possible thanks to the Free Market intrigues of Wall Street investment banks whose speculative activities contributed to about 60% of the increase in crude prices since 2003. The Revolution was financed by Wall Street. Supply and demand came 2nd. The great Bolivarian leader may have been reading those futile peak oil blogs (ASPO?) and imagining that his model of social development was guaranteed – the natural correction to societal collapse about to hit the western world as energy availability dwindled. Chavez died when crude prices were hovering around $100 a barrel – his successor Nicolas Maduro managed to ride the wave of post-Chavez sentiment for all it was worth but ultimately succumbed to the infernal logic of a socialist economy plugged into a capitalist framework – as these two graphs from Stratfor nicely demonstrate, Maduro’s popularity can be directly plotted against the global price of crude. Oil at $100 a barrel saw Maduro’s support at around 50% – $50 a barrel saw support drop to 50%. Vladmir Putin has also been unable to escape the horrid political logic of the petro-state, his country is experiencing a deep economic crisis. Putin and Chavez were cut from the same cloth – populist leaders struggling against American hegemony and NATO encirclement, providing unending vocal support for America’s Axis of Enemies and promoting vague concept of new world orders, which now appear bricked.
With the price of crude oil expected to remain between $50-$60 a barrel through 2017, it stands to reason that Maduro’s party will lose the upcoming election, but its not certain that the opposition will be able to turn things around without a herculean effort.
Images from stratfor.com