Death of Hugo Chavez May Signal Fresh Start for US and Venezuela: Academic

By Newsroom America Staff at 6 Mar 2013

(Newsroom America) -- The recent death of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez could allow the United States and Venezuela to improve their relationship, according to University of Missouri political scientist Moises Arce.

Chavez’s death may also lead to major changes in Venezuela and could shake the international oil market, he said.

"The US may be looking for a fresh start as Venezuela remains one of the major oil suppliers to the US economy," said Arce. “Opponents of Chavez would also like to see a different Venezuela. Chavez has ruled Venezuela since 1999, and the country has changed a lot since he came to power."

The loss of the outspoken Chavez could have serious consequences for his international allies and political cohorts, especially in the member nations of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA).

“Chavez has been a strong critic of economic liberalization and globalization; he has also criticized the U.S. and other European countries for advancing these policies throughout the developing world," said Arce. "His death represents a major loss for those voices."

Arce noted that Chavez’s death may have an effect on global oil prices in the short term as markets react to the changing political structure of Venezuela, one of the world’s top oil producers.

"It is hard to know whether prices will go up or down. That will depend on the political situation that develops in Venezuela as a new leader fills the void left by Chavez," he said.

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