Venezuela's economic crisis has spiraled out of control, creating secondary ripple effects
that are impacting the entire Western Hemisphere. This manmade crisis has produced an
unprecedented regional outflow of migrants and refugees that shows no sign of slowing
down and is likely to surpass the Syrian exodus. With an inflation rate estimated to be above
1,000,000 percent, Venezuela has placed its bets on a cryptocurrency tied to oil reserves it is
unable to extract. Meanwhile, in neighboring Guyana, ExxonMobil has made nine discoveries
since 2015. The discoveries are estimated to hold around 4 billion barrels of crude oil and
expected to deliver over $6 billion in royalties and taxes once production is in full swing.
This article examines the Venezuelan economic and humanitarian crisis within this context,
considers the possibility of Guyana falling victim to the “resource curse,” and proposes
recommendations for key actors – Guyana, ExxonMobil, Venezuela, and the United States – to
ensure Guyana’s burgeoning oil industry is established in a responsible manner.