Adriianna M. Lagorio is pursuing a M.A. in Security Policy Studies at the Elliott School of International Affairs with specializations in Latin American security and counterterrorism. She attended the University of San Diego for her undergraduate degree where she studied International Relations and Spanish. She started her professional career working in public policy for the Orange County Board of Supervisors and served as the diplomatic liaison to the Mexican Consulate of Santa Ana. She studied at the Universidad de Belgrano in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She has conducted field research in Medellin, Colombia in partnership with the organization InSight Crime. She has held internships at Justice in Mexico, the House Committee on Homeland Security, and the United States Institute of Peace.

In Latin America, Russia has allied with authoritarian regimes and expanded its influence to counter the United States – a strategy that is evident in Venezuela. While policymakers have focused on China’s economic expansion in Venezuela, Russia’s use of energy diplomacy in Venezuela has garnered less attention. Russian leadership capitalized on Venezuela’s economic vulnerability to gain access to its oil reserves (which are the largest in the world), while gaining a strategic base close to the U.S. and transforming Venezuela into a satellite state for Russian hybrid warfare. Russia’s energy investments in Venezuela have political, economic, diplomatic, and military ramifications that will directly impact U.S. foreign policy for years to come.

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This article was published in our Summer 2019 issue. Latest issues of the journal are available in the Gelman Library and can also be downloaded from our website.