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Education news and issues in the Ozarks.

Professor Visits MSU to Speak on Oil Market Impact in Venezuela

Submitted photo

Thanks to the rise in domestic oil production, there is less concern today regarding potential unrest in oil-producing countries.

That’s according to Dr. Daniel Hellinger, a professor of International Relations at Webster University in St. Louis. He’ll be delivering a lecture entitled “Venezuela: The Oil Giant Enters the Post-Chavez Era” on Tuesday night at Missouri State University.

Hellinger says unrest in the South American nation would have less of an impact on the U.S. than a few years ago. But there is still some level for worry.   

“It’s a global oil market. If a country like Venezuela, that produces about 3 million barrels of oil per day, were to fall into the kind of chaos that we’ve seen in some other oil-producing countries, that would have an impact on the global market.”

For Venezuela, the price of oil is less than half of what it was since September 2014.

“Most of that money ends up being funneled through the government to grassroots community councils, they call them. And those kind of government programs have been what have generated a lot of support in Venezuela. First for [former president] Hugo Chavez and then for his successor [Nicolas] Maduro; and of course those are threatened now,” Hellinger says.

Hellinger says this has negatively impacted the nation’s exchange rate, but also created a shortage of vital subsidized goods sought by the nation’s poor.

Despite the situation, Hellinger says reports indicate that opposition to the Venezuelan government appears minimal.

“It’s kind of interesting that in many respects while people are very unhappy with Maduro, especially his base of support, they’re not quite ready to flip over entirely to the opposition either.”

But given signs of some restlessness in security services, as Hellinger says, there’s still a bigger danger of a political collapse rather than an economic one, noting the potential uncertainty following elections this December.

Listen to our conversation with Hellinger above.

Hellinger’s lecture on Tuesday will also analyze attempts at participatory democracy and alternative forms of socialism in Venezuela.

His lecture is from 6:30-8 p.m. in room 101 of the Meyer Library on the Missouri State University campus. It is free and open to the public.