David Smilde

WOLA Senior Fellow and the Charles A. and Leo M. Favrot Professor of Human Relations at Tulane University

David Smilde, curator of the blog, is a WOLA Senior Fellow and the Charles A. and Leo M. Favrot Professor of Human Relations at Tulane University. He has lived in or worked on Venezuela since 1992. Professor Smilde has researched Venezuela for the past twenty years. He has taught at the Universidad Central de Venezuela and the Universidad Católica Ándres Bello. From 2010-2012 he was the Chair of the Venezuelan Studies Section of the Latin American Studies Association. He is currently working on a book manuscript called Venezuela’s Transition to Socialism: Politics and Human Rights under Chávez, 2008-2012. He is co-editor of Venezuela's Bolivarian Democracy: Participation, Politics and Culture under Chávez (Duke 2011).

Posts by David

Jun. 13
10 min read

Prologue to PROVEA’s 2017 Annual Report on the State of Human Rights in Venezuela

"The social and economic acheivements of Chavismo were undeniable. But for a progressive project to be sustainable, it has to be accompanied by recognition of and respect for the full spectrum of human rights. It is the feedback and pressure exercised by an empowered citizenship, free from fear, that can guide public policy and avoid tragedies like the one Venezuela is living today."

By and ,
4 min read

The Most Realistic Path Out of Venezuela’s Crisis is Through Negotiations, and Many in the U.S. Government Know it

Venezuela hawks have applauded rhetoric from the NSC’s Juan Cruz that is supportive of a military coup in the country, but they miss a key detail: Cruz—like others in the U.S. foreign policy community—is also clear-eyed about the fact that any kind of solution to the crisis in Venezuela will…

Mar. 19
8 min read

Venezuela Q & A, March 2018

Societies are not organisms. They do not die, nor do they bottom out. They are complex configurations of individuals, networks and institutions whose fortunes do not rise and fall together. There are winners and losers in every configuration and every process of change. “Sustainability” in the current context really just means the same group that benefits economically controls the guns and the institutions and can therefore perpetuate itself.