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Venezuela – The Downfall of a Pacted Democracy: A case study of democracy in Venezuela in the 20th century
Dalarna University, School of Education, Health and Social Studies, Political Science.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This case study examines Venezuelan democracy in the 20th century, with specific focus on the democratic regime originating in the pact of Punto Fijo during the transition to democracy in 1958. The aim of the study is to examine its downfall and try to determine its cause. The study uses both structural and agency-based theories to try to explain the breakdown, namely transition theory, consolidation theory as well as the resource curse thesis.

Venezuela’s democratic development is then described, including specific focus on the oil economy and the parties that initiated the pact, from the early 20th century to 1993, when the first president from outside of the pact was elected.

The analysis shows two major determinants in explaining the breakdown. Firstly an economy too reliant on extensive oil revenues, which could not handle the downturn in oil prices of the 1980s. Secondly a party system that limited political participation to voting, hindered the forming of organizations and ignored demands of decentralization. Conclusively the study points to the risks associated with state control of natural resources and with party elites gaining too much power.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Democracy, oil, resource curse, consolidation, deconsolidation, Venezuela
National Category
Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-20568OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-20568DiVA: diva2:890059
Available from: 2015-12-30 Created: 2015-12-30

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