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Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has used the trappings of democracy to consolidate authoritarian rule and obscure violations of due process, civil liberties, and other human rights. Defenders of the regime overlook those abuses, citing the government’s extensive programs to help the poor. Yet, María Corina Machado will explain that after having received more than $800 billion in oil and non‐oil revenue during his 10 years in power, Chávez’s social policies have little to show for themselves. Most indicators show that poor peoples’ standard of living has worsened or has fallen far short of improvements that would be consistent with the economic boom that has accompanied Chávez’s rule. Other indicators—including those related to corruption, crime, and governance—show a clear deterioration. Join us to hear the president of one of Venezuela’s leading pro‐democracy NGOs describe the real effects of populism on the poor.