Making sense of Venezuela's situation

A panel of eight experts will review the recent economic, social and political evolution of Venezuela and conduct an open and interactive debate moderated by Leonardo Vivas, creator of the Latin America Initiative at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

The recent conflicts in Venezuela began with a student’s protest and escalated to a national crisis which have now made international news. The depth of the crisis in Venezuela is one that reveals the economic and political failures of one of the most powerful economies in Latin America. Presently, over 2,000 human rights violations have been reported including rape and physical abuse.

Since the protests began on February 12th, there have been over 20 deaths during street clashes attributed to the Bolivarian National Guard, over 300 protestors wounded with bullets, and more than 2000 detainees with 44 jailed activists. The violations continue to rise. Political opponents are being persecuted and jailed while worsening shortages of food and medicines continue. This crisis has not been televised on Venezuelan TV. Newspapers and radio stations have been penalized for their reporting, and newsprint shortages are dire.

Organizers: Roberto Rigobón ( and Irene Bosch member of Venered
Time: 6 PM to 9 PM 
Date: Wednesday March 12th
Place: 10-250 Auditorium at 77 Mass. Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139

The representatives from Venezuela are: Keta Stephany, Professor at the Central University of Venezuela, and Secretary General of the National Federation; Pedro Moreno, President of worker’s political party and member of the union workers in Venezuela; and Eusebio Costa, President of the Student Center of the Catholic University of Santa Rosa and a victim of human rights violations.

Panel members from Boston:

Francisco J. Monaldi Visiting Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Roy Family Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Adjunct Professor of Energy Policy at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and Non-Resident Fellow for the Latin America Initiative at the Baker Institute at Rice University. He is on leave as Professor at the Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Administración (IESA) in Caracas, Venezuela. He is the founder and Director of IESA’s International Center on Energy and the Environment. In 2012-2013 he was the Robert F. Kennedy Visiting Professor at Harvard University and Fellow at the David Rockefeller for Latin American Studies. In 2008-2009 he was Visiting Professor at Stanford University and Campbell National Fellow at the Hoover Institution. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science (Political Economy) from Stanford University, a Master in International and Development Economics from Yale University, and a B.A. in Economics from UCAB. 
Boris Muñoz is a Venezuelan journalist and author of several books, including: La ley de la calle, testimonios de jóvenes protagonistas de la violencia en Caracas, Más allá de la ciudad letrada, Crónicas y espacios urbanos and Despachos del imperio. Muñoz is a fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. He was and Editor-in-Chief of Nueva Sociedad and Editorial Director of Exceso magazine, and contributes regularly to The New Yorker, Foreign Affairs, Gatopardo magazine, and

Roberto Patiño is one of the founders of VotoJoven, an organization that mobilized youth to get out the vote in Venezuela, and JoTA, an NGO that advances the rights of young people through events like sports tournaments; they built a policy plan for the youth by listening in assemblies the concerns and expectations of young people in his country, focusing primarily in education policies. Roberto was featured in the documentary A Whisper to a Roar and won the 2010 International Democracy Award. He was a student leader during the large pacific demonstrations occurred between 2007-2010, advocating for education of quality for all and freedom of speech. He was the head of the Presidential Youth Campaign for the opposition coalition in Venezuela in 2012; they managed to do the largest youth political event in the country’s history with more than 30.000 youngsters in a stadium. He is currently studying an MPP at the Kennedy School and was recently elected president of the Latin American Caucus of the School.

Miguel Angel Santos was the Head of the Macroeconomic Policy Team for presidential candidate Henrique Capriles in the Venezuelan elections of 2012. He has more than twelve years of executive experience doing business development and corporate finance in Latin America. He is an Adjunct Professor at the Center of Finance of Instituto de Estudios Superiores en Administración (IESA) in Caracas, and writes a weekly column at El Universal, Venezuela’s oldest nationwide newspaper. Miguel Angel holds two M.Sc. degrees in Economics and Specialized Economic Analysis, both from Universitat Pompeu Fabra, and has also earned the right to use the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. He is a currently an Edward S. Mason Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a Ph.D. in Economics candidate at Universidad de Barcelona.

Roberto Rigobon is the Society of Sloan Fellows Professor of Appl
ied Economics at the Sloan School of Management, MIT, a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a member of the Census Bureau’s Scientific Advisory Committee, and a visiting professor at IESA.  Roberto is a Venezuelan economist whose areas of research are international economics, monetary economics, and development economics. Roberto focuses on the causes of balance-of-payments crises, financial crises, and the propagation of them across countries - the phenomenon that has been identified in the literature as contagion. Currently he studies properties of international pricing practices, try to produce alternative measures of inflation, and is one of the two founding members of the Billion Prices Project, and a co-founder of PriceStats. Roberto joined the business school in 1997 and has won three times the "Teacher of the year" award and three times the "Excellence in Teaching" award at MIT. He got his Ph.D. in economics from MIT in 1997, an MBA from IESA (Venezuela) in 1991, and his BS in Electrical Engineer from Universidad Simon Bolivar (Venezuela) in 1984. He is married with three kids.

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