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Two contrasting views on the current political and economic crisis in Venezuela are expressed this week in letters to Nature and Science.

Venezuelan government is backing science

This response to a letter published in Nature last month (see Venezuelan researchers appeal to global community) asserts that the country's government is making significant efforts to support the scientific sector.

The statement — which has more than 50 signatories from the Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Research (IVIC) and several other research institutes — says that during the past ten years, total state investment in science has continuously increased.

The authors say they believe that the present government has provided benefits to the scientific community, and that its efforts for the advancement of science in Venezuela should be recognised.

Link to letter in Nature

Source: Nature 421, 786 (2003)

Current political crisis threatens Venezuelan science

The current political crisis in Venezuela threatens to destroy the Venezuelan scientific infrastructure, built up during the past 50 years.

In this letter to Science, the board of directors of the Venezuelan Association for the Advancement of Science say that the government is actively engaged in a continuous dismantling of scientific research.

The authors envision a stampede of scientists to neighbouring and developed world countries, a hiatus in the growth of young researchers, and the slowing and even disappearance of the scientific research community.

Link to full letter to Science

Source: Science 299, 1184

See also:

Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Research (IVIC)
Venezuelan Association for the Advancement of Science