The so-called Bolivarian socialism of the 21st century has been championed by President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela and emulated by several other countries in Latin America. As the backlash against the neo-liberal reforms of the 1990s grew, this new populist left movement began to gain strength in the region. The tenets of Bolivarian socialism are similar to previous brands of socialism: state control over the economy, circumventing representative democratic institutions, and political pressures directed against opposition leaders, NGOs, and other civil society organizations. But can Bolivarian socialism create a truly productive economy capable of generating growth and prosperity? Venezuela’s dependence on oil exports as the backbone of its economy casts a serious doubt on the feasibility of this approach.