Dragon in the Tropics (2nd ed.)

The Legacy of Hugo Chávez

by Javier Corrales, Michael Penfold

Dragon in the Tropics: The Legacy of Hugo Chávez
US$27.00

This new and expanded edition of Dragon in the Tropics—the widely acclaimed account of how president Hugo Chávez (1999–2013) revamped Venezuela's political economy—examines the electoral decline of Chavismo after Chavez's death and the policies adopted by his successor, Nicolás Maduro, to cope with the economic chaos inherited from previous radical populist policies. Corrales and Penfold argue that Maduro has had to struggle with the inherent contradictions of a large and heterogeneous social coalition, a declining oil sector, the strength of entrenched military interests, and fewer resources to appease international allies, which have strenghtened the autocratic features of an already consolidated hybrid regime. In examining the new political realities of Venezuela, the authors offer lessons on the dynamics of succession in hybrid regimes. This book is a must-read for scholars and analysts of Latin America.

Praise for the first edition of Dragon in the Tropics This is the most objective, comprehensive and interesting book I have read on what has happened in Venezuela since Hugo Chávez took power in the late 1990s. It shows why most of the common explanations of the country's social and political convulsions are superficial and often flawed. A must-read. —Moisés Naím, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Hugo Chávez and his 'Bolivarian Revolution' to construct '21st century socialism' in Venezuela and reshape the international order have attracted a great deal of polarized comment: either sycophantic praise or unmitigated condemnation, neither backed up by sound data or profound analysis. Dragon in the Tropics escapes this pattern. It provides a thoughtful, perceptive, balanced but critical, nuanced and illuminating assessment, grounded in rich and revealing data, and deep knowledge of both Venezuela and of comparative politics and political economy. Highly recommended. -Abraham F. Lowenthal, Professor of International Relations, University of Southern California

Corrales and Penfold have written a wide-ranging and thought-provoking interpretation of how Hugo Chávez has shaped Venezuelan society, and the country's regional and global role, over the past decade. The book is conceptually innovative, empirically rich, and cogently argued. Its keen insights into Venezuela's evolving political economy represent an invaluable contribution. -Michael Shifter, President, Inter-American Dialogue

Javier Corrales and Michael Penfold are two of the most outstanding analysts of contemporary Venezuela. This accessible and clear-eyed book provides a comprehensive overview of Venezuelan politics, economics, and foreign policy over the last decade. No one interested in understanding the rise of radical populism, the distortions inherent in the oil economy, and the progressive deterioration of democratic institutions should fail to read this book. -Cynthia Arnson, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

An engaging and comprehensive portrait of the Chávez government's key economic and political features. —Political Science Quarterly


  • Brookings Institution Press; February 2015
  • ISBN: 9780815725947
  • Edition: 2
  • Read online
  • Title: Dragon in the Tropics
  • Author: Javier Corrales; Michael Penfold
  • Imprint: Brookings Institution Press