David Smilde is the Charles A. and Leo M. Favrot Professor of Human Relations at Tulane University and Senior Fellow at the Washington Office on Latin America, for whom he curates the blog Venezuelan Politics and Human Rights. He is a frequent media commentator and has written op eds for the New York Times, Washington Post and El País. In March 2017 he gave expert testimony in a US Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Venezuela. He served as Chair of the Venezuelan Studies Section of the Latin American Studies Association from 2010-12. His scholarly research has focused on religion, culture and social and political conflict. He is author or editor of three books on Venezuela including: Venezuela’s Bolivarian Democracy: Politics, Participation and Culture in Venezuela under Chávez (Duke 2011), Reason to Believe: Cultural Agency in Latin American Evangelicalism (California 2007), and Protesta y Cultura en Venezuela: Los Marcos de Acción Colectiva en 1999. (UCV 2002). He has researched Venezuela for twenty-eight years and lived there for fifteen.