Dr. Ricardo Hausmann

Director of the Center for International Development at Harvard University

PATRON EVENT: Latin America: Venezuela's Collapse and Brazil's Peril

About the Topic


This is a Patron Event and will run from 6:30-8:00pm

Ricardo Hausmann will focus on two Latin American countries occupying front-page news:

Venezuela has been suffering the "biggest economic collapse in human history outside of war or state collapse," according to Hausmann. GDP has fallen over 50 percent, double the size of the Great Depression. Thirty million people are suffering from hunger and shortages of everything from medicines to electricity and gas. He describes a humanitarian crisis of “Syrian proportions,” with an exodus of an estimated 5.3 million citizens. President Nicolás Maduro was recently sworn in for a second term after what many have called a rigged election. Juan Guaidó, president of the National Assembly has assumed the role of interim president. What are the causes of Venezuela’s crisis, what are the near-term priorities, and who is the legitimate leader?

Latin America’s largest democracy, Brazil inaugurated Jair Bolsonaro as its 38th President on January 1, 2019. A right-wing firebrand, Bolsonaro has compared himself to President Trump, an outsider who is able to remedy the nation’s severe recession, rampant violence and political corruption. Since 2014, more than 150 Brazilian business leaders, corporations and politicians have been prosecuted. Tapping into voter anger, and despite fierce opposition, Bolsonaro mobilized outside the traditional political system and galvanized a populist movement. Can Bolsonaro clean up corruption and improve the economy without threatening Brazil’s democracy?

About the Speaker

In March, Juan Guaidó appointed Ricardo Hausmann as Venezuela's representative to the Inter-American Development Bank. Hausmann is also the Director of Harvard University's Center for International Development. With the center's Growth Lab, Hausmann been working on what he calls "the morning-after plan," awaiting the ouster of President Nicolas Maduro. Hausmann was the Minister of Planning in Venezuela (1992 -1993) and a member of the Board of the Central Bank of Venezuela. The first Chief Economist of the Inter-American Development Bank (1994 - 2000), he also served as Chair of the IMF-World Bank Development Committee. His research interests include issues of growth, macroeconomic stability, international finance and the social dimensions of development. He holds a PhD in economics from Cornell University.