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Oil industry counts cost of Chávez inheritance

Chávez left behind a mixed legacy for Venezuela, now the country must move forward

In late 1998, Venezuela was mired in an economic crisis. Oil prices had fallen to less than $10 a barrel, eviscerating the country’s finances, plunging Venezuela into a deep recession and further exposing social and economic divisions in a country in which oil wealth had long flowed only to the elite few. With elections looming, the two most prominent political parties, which had dominated Venezuelan politics for 40 years, were thoroughly discredited. Into this breach stepped Hugo Chávez, a 44-year-old former army paratrooper who grew up poor in rural Venezuela and was best known for leading a failed coup attempt in 1992. The political class were blindsided by Chávez’s 1998 presidential camp

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