Submitted on Thursday, 9/10/2020, at 4:34 PM

This summer, a state-owned refinery began spilling oil into Venezuela’s Morrocoy National Park, and the country’s increasingly authoritarian government took control of the executive boards of several opposition parties. According to a recent New York Times op-ed by Professor Javier Corrales, “These catastrophes are two sides of the same coin.”

Corrales, the Dwight W. Morrow 1895 Professor of Political Science and chair of political science, describes how the South American nation’s political crisis, collapsing oil industry and environmental degradation all relate to one another—and how the rhetoric and policies of the United States may be contributing to these problems. He concludes, “Venezuela’s descent into authoritarianism has the same source as July’s oil spill: Venezuela is a petrostate that has lost interest in accountability.”

Corrales is currently teaching a course on “The Political Economy of Petro States: Venezuela Compared.” He is the author or co-author of multiple books about the politics of Venezuela and other parts of Latin America.