The World Affairs Council of Charleston hosts six speaking events each year, three in each the spring and fall.  During those seasons, come to this page to find information about each upcoming speaker, and the date and time of the event.

'Is there a Way Forward in Venezuela: Economic Collapse, Authoritarianism, and Massive Refugee Crisis.'

February 19, 2020 at 5:15 PM 
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The Citadel Alumni Center
69 Hagood Ave.
Charleston, SC 29403

Venezuela, under the leadership of President Nicolas Maduro, is overwhelmed by economic, political, and humanitarian crises that show no sign of resolution. Once a major oil producer, Venezuela's output is at its lowest level since 1947. A once-prosperous economy has dropped 60 percent since Maduro came to power in 2013, 35 percent in 2018 alone, "the single largest economic collapse outside of war in 45 years".  The poverty rate is now at 90 percent. Four million citizens  have fled to neighboring countries in search of food and employment, a major burden on Colombia and other nations, possibly growing to eight million, a quarter of the population. Maduro has systematically closed down democratic institutions. The nation is totally isolated in Latin America, leading Maduro to seek support from Russia, China, and Cuba. U.S. sanctions on oil exports have deepened the crisis but show little sign of forcing regime change.  

Dr. Cynthia Arnson, Director of the Latin American Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC, is one of the nation's foremost experts on the Spanish-speaking countries of the Western hemisphere. She is the author of many publications, has often testified before Congress on U.S. policy toward the region, and is a regular media commentator on Latin American issues.