From Riches to Rags: The Decline of Venezuelan Telenovelas

ABSTRACT: In 1994, economist Abdel Güerere classified telenovelas as Venezuela’s most important non-traditional export and envisioned a prosperous future for this media product. In 1999 the country produced 8–12 telenovelas a year. Today no telenovelas are produced in Venezuela and the country’s once powerful telenovela industry is virtually invisible in the international market. Based on research conducted since 1999, this chapter examines this decline, its causes and consequences. What do these factors say about the relation between the media and government in Venezuela, the country’s state of freedom of expression, and the regulation of its discursive spaces in the last 20 years?