Time for a Call from the Venezuelan Opposition to President-Elect Trump?

posted by R. Evan Ellis on December 13, 2016 - 10:20am

I would like to introduce my recent work on the crisis in Venezuela, and the potential for the incoming administration of President-elect Trump to contribute to a solution, applying the unpredictability that he has already applied, with surprising success, in his dialogue with the President of Taiwan.

You can check out the report here.

As an aside, as the media contemplates Mr. Trump's nomination of Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, I would also suggest that the media's initial take is wrong on this one; While some in Latin America may criticize Mr. Tillerson as a big business elitist, and others in the U.S. as too "pro-Russian," I believe that the appointment just may be good news for U.S. global engagement (albeit traumatic for Foggy Bottom).

Given the importance of the petroleum industry in Latin America, and Exxon Mobil's global reach, there are perhaps few better positioned to understand the structure of economic challenges in petroleum producing countries such as Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Argentina, Mexico and Trinidad & Tobago than Mr. Tillerson, and few who better know the strengths and shortcomings of extra-hemispheric players such as Igor Sechin of Russia's Rosneft.  Moreover, given Exxon's partnership with the Chinese company CNOOC, and its ongoing partnerships and competiton with others from China's CNPC to India's Reliance, to Russia's Lukoil, Gazprom, TNK, and Rosneft,  may be few incoming Secretaries of State with a better refined understanding of  China and Russia's resource and financial plays in Latin America and the Caribbean.  And for Guyana--site of one of Exxon's most important offshore oil projects in Latin America--a slightly greater portion of the world may notice that the deceptively rich and complex country of gold timber and sugar, overlooked since World War II by the tide of geopolitics, is actually in South America, not Africa.