Stagnant economic growth, flagging demand for crude oil, and an increase in alternative supply sources such as US shale gas have led to a growing mismatch between supply and demand in global energy markets. These factors have been accentuated by both geopolitical instability and OPEC’s decision not to cut output, resulting in a free-fall in the price of oil. Prices this week hit a 6-year low and WTI crude closed at USD 45.56 at time of writing (January 27, 2015). Though cheap oil has the potential to fuel greater economic growth in some corners of the world, it could have profoundly destabilizing effects in others. In this five part series, Geopoliticalmonitor.com examines how cheap oil is a threat to certain regimes and economies, even the global order itself. Part one focuses on Venezuela and Cuba.