The Evolution of a Hybrid Regime in Chavista Venezuela: Between Authoritarianism and Democracy

The seminar seeks to generate debate on the nature of chavismo in order to provide feedback to a new scholar from Brazil, Marsílea Gombata, who is writing up research based on field work in Venezuela.


February 5, 2020

12:15 – 1:45 pm

Liu Institute for Global Issues – Boardroom #316


Marsílea Gombata

PhD candidate, Political Science Department

University of São Paulo – Brazil


What caused the erosion of the democratic project of the Bolivarian Revolution into a hybrid or perhaps authoritarian regime? One view is that chavismo was always authoritarian; another is that it became more authoritarian after the 2002 coup, the 2004 recall referendum, the abstention of the opposition from the 2005 legislative election and the re-election of Chávez in 2006. I argue thatchavismo is, and always was, a hybrid: it combined democratic and authoritarian characteristics from the start. Instead of a process of transformation toward authoritarianism, the democratic features of chavismo were more initially more evident while its authoritarian features emerged over time. It is not that chavismo changed but that it was always a hybrid.


Bio: Marsílea Gombata is a Ph.D. candidate at the Political Science Department at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, where she conducts research on the evolution of hybridity in the Venezuelan political system with chavismo. Her research field is mainly focused on Latin America and leftist governments that ascended to power at the beginning of the 21st century. For her Master’s Degree, she conducted research about how social programs became a tool of soft power in the Latin American region and how Brazilian, Bolivian and Venezuelan governments have exchanged them. In addition, she works as a journalist for Valor Economico, the main financial newspaper in Brazil, where she is in charge of Latin America coverage.


Sponsored by: UBC’s Latin American Studies Program, and UBC’s Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions in the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs.