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