Why Venezuela Can’t Be Like Colombia

Despite their comparable geography and similar origins, Venezuela can’t hope to soon match its neighbor’s relative stability.

|May 22, 2018

By Allison Fedirka

In 2013, Nicolas Maduro succeeded Hugo Chavez as president of Venezuela. In the ensuing five years, Maduro relied on populism, much like his predecessor did, while driving Venezuela’s economy to ruin. And yet he secured a second term over the weekend.

Just next door is Colombia, a country that stands out in South America for not having had a left-wing populist leader in over three decades. It also has an economy poised to challenge Argentina as the second-largest on the continent. With all that Colombia and Venezuela share, geographically and historically, this divergence is striking.

The Paradox of Plenty

The Colombia-Venezuela border is one of the few places in South America without geographic barriers delineating national boundaries. To the north, they share a sliver of lowlands. Both have expansive shores along the Caribbean Sea. Just south, the Andes extend from Colombia into Venezuela. Below that, the Orinoco Basin stretches from southeastern

South America Explained in Maps

Your geopolitical cheat sheet

Get full access now:

Get access to all In-Depth Content

Over 10,000 Premium Readers

One Month Introductory Offer One month for $9.99, then $39 quarterly
$9.99
Subscribe
3 Months Introductory Offer Three months for $29, then $35 quarterly
$29
Subscribe

Reader feedback

“I want to thank you for all your writing. Your look at history--causes, motivations, effects--is so astounding against the mainstream dates, events, and bias. I read as much of your site as I can, but I most of all love the look at history. Nobody has as profound a look at American & European history, or WWII. You are peerless.” Christopher T. of Raleigh, NC
“The material is always well-written, and is very useful for understanding the significance of important issues developing across the world.” Beckett T. of Washington
“Geopolitical Futures' insights are mind-blowing. Their analyses never fail to distill order from the jumble of current events. No other publication comes close to the caliber of Geopolitical Futures' forecasts.” Bill S. of California
“Your emails is my best link to understanding what is going on in the world's hot spots without the extreme typical media bias. Keep up the great work. Thanks for your considerable efforts.” David H.
“Geopolitical Futures is unparalleled for open source analysis. It's like they have a crystal ball. I'm jealous of George Friedman's ability to effectively communicate such a complex world in such relatively simple terms. I'd pay far more money than I am now to keep this service. I feel like I'm stealing.” Dominic F. of Virginia
“Your analysis is thought-provoking and informative. I am a geopolitical hobbyist, but I also use your information to manage my retirement portfolio. I love your cogent, dispassionate analysis. Kudos to you.” Kevin A of Maryland
“I was an Economist subscriber. No longer. I find your articles insightful, easy to read, and only takes few minutes a day to stay informed. Bravo!” Pat G.
“The best analysis out there, by far. As a geopolitical analyst, you guys are an inspiration, a reference and a constant motivation for improvement. Thanks for the rigour and the high quality you deliver in all of your work!” Ricky M. of Panama
“I think you doing an excellent job keeping people informed about global trends. You are doing analysis in a timely manner for events across the globe which is challenging task. Keep up the good work!” Nicolae C. of Romania
“The insights that you offer often go against "conventional wisdom" and conformist views. However, more often than not, your profound assessments and forecasts, which stem from a deep understanding of a wide range of associated dynamics, have turned out to be correct with passage of time. It is for these reasons that I invest in your work.” K Singh of India
“One of the vanishingly few analysis publishers that try to understand the current situation in light of local, regional and international facts and historical events, with no discernible bias, a transparent effort to overcome cognitive bias, and refreshing willingness to go against the current when seeking to shed light on events.” Ian W. of Paraguay

Get full access now:

Get access to all In-Depth Content

Over 10,000 Premium Readers

One Month Introductory Offer One month for $9.99, then $39 quarterly
$9.99
Subscribe
3 Months Introductory Offer Three months for $29, then $35 quarterly
$29
Subscribe