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