Venezuela faces one of the worst humanitarian crises in its modern history. The decline in the price of oil—Venezuela’s largest and almost only export—did away with the government’s ability to supply foreign currency, pushing black market rates to about 100 times the official exchange rate. In the absence of enough foreign currency to import raw materials and finished products, a much-diminished domestic private sector is unable to satisfy local demand for food, basic goods, and medicine. Imports have fallen by more than half this year, greatly reducing consumption levels. Meanwhile, tight energy rationing is already in place. This collapse is reflected in the expected contraction of Venezuelan GDP by 10 percent and in the shortage of over 80 percent of basic goods. The supply shock resulting from massive import cuts combined with the continued monetization of large fiscal deficits has driven the country to the brink of hyperinflation. The time is therefore ripe to explore alternative solutions for Venezuela’s economic and humanitarian crisis and forges a roadmap for the country’s recovery.
On October 18, the Brookings Global-CERES Economic and Social Policy in Latin America Initiative and the Brookings Foreign Policy Latin America Initiative will host a panel discussion on the way forward for Venezuela’s recovery and reconstruction, featuring opening remarks from Brooking Senior Fellow Ted Piccone. Distinguished panelists will include Ricardo Hausmann, director of the Center for International Development (CID) at Harvard University; Miguel Ángel Santos, senior research fellow at CID; Francisco Rodriguez, chief economist at Torino Capital LLC; and Luisa Palacios, head of Latin America at Medley Global Advisors LLC. Brookings Fellow Dany Bahar will moderate.
After the program, panelists will take audience questions.