Today, Venezuela is a country of perpetual crisis — with rolling blackouts, nearly worthless currency, uncertain supplies of water and food and extreme poverty. In the same land where the largest oil reserve in the world sits so close to the surface that it bubbles from the ground and where gold and other mineral resources are abundant, the supermarket shelves are bare and the hospitals have no medicine. Nearly 20% of the population has fled, creating the largest refugee exodus in the Southern Hemisphere, rivaled only by war-torn Syria. Venezuela’s collapse affects all of Latin America, as well as the United States and the international community.
The Baker Institute Center for Energy Studies hosted a discussion with William Neuman, author of the book “Things Are Never So Bad That They Can’t Get Worse: Inside the Collapse of Venezuela” (St. Martin’s Press). A combination of journalism, memoir and history, the book chronicles Venezuela’s tragic journey from petro-riches to poverty. Neuman witnessed it all while living in Caracas and serving as the New York Times Andes Region bureau chief. The book is a riveting, clear-eyed portrait of the crisis unfolding in real time — and a heartfelt reflection of the energy, passion and humor of its people, even under the most challenging circumstances.
Copies of the book were available for purchase courtesy of Brazos Bookstore.
This event was sponsored by the Baker Institute Center for Energy Studies and the Latin American Energy Program. Follow @CES_Baker_Inst on Twitter or LinkedIn, and join the conversation online with #BakerEnergy.
6:30 p.m. — Presentation
7:00 p.m. — Q&A
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William Neuman is an author and journalist who reported for the New York Times for over 15 years. He served as the Times Andes Region bureau chief from 2012 to 2016 while based in Caracas, Venezuela. He previously reported for the New York Post. His work has also been featured in Details, The Independent, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, among others. He began his journalism career while living in Mexico and has published English translations of several Spanish language novels.
Francisco Monaldi, Ph.D.
Fellow in Latin American Energy Policy; Director, Latin America Energy Program, Baker Institute