I have spent some time trying to understand the situation in Venezuela. How could a country with such natural wealth end up in so much economic trouble? Most of the articles I found seemed to cast the problem in political terms. The conservatives were corrupt and stole all of the oil money. The socialists were corrupt and stole all the oil money. I suppose both could be true.
A friend from Iran recently used the term Black Curse for oil, The article I just read used the same term several times. I suppose that is a good way to look at it, Throw a group of people of any sort into a vast supply of easy money, and watch things go down hill.
The article below isn’t ‘impartial’, but it does seem to be factual (it is a book review of a biography of Hugo Chavez). A good read if you are interested in how things got so bad in Venezuela and how it could happen in other places. From the London Review of Books, from a few years back (it turned up in a mailing I get):
Down from the Mountain