Post-Chavez: More of the Same for Venezuela

Wily leader may still lead from beyond the grave, experts say.

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez gives a press conference at the presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela. Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 that Chavez has died. Chavez, 58, was first diagnosed with cancer in June 2011.

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez at the presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela. Chavez, 58, was first diagnosed with cancer in June 2011.

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Many hoped Chavez' death might open up the potential for new investors, particularly to export Venezuela's rich oil reserves.

"With this new tone—or old tone—that may not be possible," Hooper says. "[Venezuela] needs to increase oil output if it's going to back up social promises it has made."

The next president will likely have his hands full with enough domestic issues to rule out any grand overtures on the international stage, she says. Poverty has decreased from 23.4 percent to 8.5 percent since 1999, according to government figures, but the country faces the effects of currency devaluation and a rising price of gasoline.

[RELATED: 10 Things You Didn't Know About Chavez]

Venezuela suffers from the highest inflation rate of any other country in the hemisphere at 21 percent in 2012. It now stands at over 31 percent, according to the Guardian, compared to 23.6 percent when Chavez took office. The government has taken over more than 500 properties or businesses in 2010 alone, according to State Department figures. Efforts to nationalize private industries such as banks, farms and construction businesses have slowed productivity and reduced private investment. Effects from these actions will likely spur protests and perhaps riots among its citizenry, Hooper says.

"We might be seeing a bit less of Venezuela on the international diplomatic circus," she adds.

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