Venezuela, the country with the world's largest oil reserves, is in turmoil. Heavily in debt and with inflation soaring, its people continue to take to the streets in protest.

Were years of socialist economic policies the cause of this catastrophe, and could it have been predicted?

According to economist and former Venezuelan Planning Minister Ricardo Hausmann, the answer is yes.

"What happened is that President Hugo Chavez used a period of high oil prices, not to put some money aside, but to quintuple the foreign debt," says Hausmann. "If Maduro is out soon, I think we can turn the country around relatively quickly with sound economic policies."

However, former Chavez adviser Temir Porras says it’s not the socialist policies to blame, but dropping oil prices and poor debt oversight.

"It’s not a problem of amount of debt, it’s a problem of management of that debt," says Porras. "There has been a sharp fall in oil prices and there has been, I would say, a management of that crisis that has been deficient."

Porras adds that the opposition wants to retry policies that failed before, and that the scale of the crisis is exaggerated.

In the Arena, Ricardo Hausmann and Temir Porras debate the roots of the economic collapse in Venezuela.

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Source: Al Jazeera News