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Abstract

Acknowledging the rampant political corruption that has persisted in Venezuela for decades, this paper contrasts two theories of its source: the “elite” culture of the Venezuelan populace and the “democratic socialist” government structure through a literature review supplemented by an interview with Venezuelan refugees. By analyzing political theories by various authors and compiling historical information, this paper concludes that the political theory of populism (also known as functionalist theory) accurately combines cultural and governmental perspectives, providing the most comprehensive reason for Venezuelan corruption. Furthermore, the theory of populism also explains the dynamics of social psychology that contributed to the moral corruption and ironic complacency of the vocal Venezuelan people. This phenomenon re-conceptualizes political corruption to not only consider the immoral actions of governmental figures, but those of everyday citizens as well. In other words, societal corruption can spread top-down, bottom-up, and laterally in any class of society by infecting a country’s cultural fiber.

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