Author Biography

Mr. Kott is a recent graduate of New York University, where he received his Master of Science in Global Affairs with a dual concentration in Energy & the Environment and International Business. Prior to this, Mr. Kott received his Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs from The George Washington University in May 2009. His research interests include energy security, project finance, and emerging markets. His writing has been featured by the Center for International Relations and Council on Hemispheric Affairs as well as an upcoming publication by the Tanenbaum Center.



Subject Area Keywords

Corruption, Development and security, Economics, Energy security, Global trends and risks, Globalization and global change, Latin America, National security, Natural resources and security


The focus of this article is on what role, if any, oil has on Venezuela's instability. When trying to explain why a resource-rich country experiences slow or negative growth, experts often point to the resource curse. The following pages explore the traditional theory behind the resource curse as well as alternative perspectives to this theory such as ownership structure and the correlation between oil prices and democracy. This article also explores the various forms of instability within Venezuela and their causes. Finally, the article looks at President Hugo Chavez's political and economic policies as well as the stagnation of the state oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA). This article dispels the myth that the resource curse is the source of destabilization in many resource dependent countries. Rather than a cause of instability, this phenomenon is a symptom of a much larger problem that is largely structural.