Beneath Venezuelan soil lies an ocean of crude—the world’s largest reserves—an oil patch that shaped the nature of the global energy business. Unfortunately, a dysfunctional anti-American, leftist government controls this vast resource and has used its wealth to foster voter support, ultimately wreaking economic havoc.
Crude Nation reveals the ways in which this mismanagement has led to Venezuela’s economic ruin and turned the country into a cautionary tale for the world. Raúl Gallegos, a former Caracas-based oil correspondent, paints a picture both vivid and analytical of the country’s economic decline, the government’s foolhardy economic policies, and the wrecked lives of Venezuelans.
Without transparency, the Venezuelan government uses oil money to subsidize life for its citizens in myriad unsustainable ways, while regulating nearly every aspect of day-to-day existence in Venezuela. This has created a paradox in which citizens can fill up the tanks of their SUVs for less than one American dollar while simultaneously enduring nationwide shortages of staples such as milk, sugar, and toilet paper. Gallegos’s insightful analysis shows how mismanagement has ruined Venezuela again and again over the past century and lays out how Venezuelans can begin to fix their country, a nation that can play an important role in the global energy industry. This paperback edition features a new introduction by the author.
About the Author
Raúl Gallegos, an associate director for the consulting firm Control Risks, has been a featured columnist for Bloomberg View, covering Latin American politics, business, and finance. He has been an oil correspondent with Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal.
"Gallegos provides crucial background for the country's present situation, and also offers a solution for fixing the country's economy and helping it re-enter the global energy industry."—New York Times
"Superbly reported."—Wall Street Journal
“This briskly written book nicely explains how the oil curse has worked in Venezuela, especially in the Chavez era.”—Fareed Zakaria, CNN
“Crude Nation shows how what was once South America’s most stable, wealthy country swerved towards the abyss. A former economic journalist who lived in Caracas. . . . Gallegos blends analysis with reportage, including a picaresque road trip with a Che Guevara lookalike—to show how Maduro inherited a mess and made it worse.”—Rory Carroll, Guardian
"A fascinating analysis."—Foreign Affairs Latinoamérica
"[A] fine book."—Mac Margolis, Bloomberg View
"Gallegos' book provides an excellent summary of today's Venezuela, and a solid explanation of the historical trends that have produced the country's ongoing tragedy."—Jason Fargo, America's Quarterly
"Crude Nation brilliantly paints the reality, and comprehensively expounds the extent and implications of Venezuela’s mishandling of precious and finite oil riches, and its unpropitious economic mismanagement."—Impeccable Business
"Mr. Gallegos has a sharp eye for the dizzying grind of everyday coping in a western consumerist society reduced overnight into one of shortages, barter, and black markets. A government committed to the empowerment of the underprivileged now presides over a cascading economic contraction that has hurt all economic sectors."—Robert Goddard, Latin Americanist
"A deeply insightful book."—Washington Book Review