Nicolás Maduro has taken Venezuela to the verge of revolution as its mismanaged economy collapses.
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"All This Scoring Action" by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
"The Stranger" by Glimpse: https://soundcloud.com/glimpse_official/the-stranger-1
The current situation in Venezuela is about as bad as it gets for a country that is not at war. El Nino and climate change have brought severe drought, and years of corrupt and incompetent leadership have ruined the economy--a two punch combination that has this tropical nation of 30 million people reeling. The drought means water is only arriving in the capital, Caracas, once a week. And when it does come, it’s brown and makes people sick. With no rain, the water level is critically low at the Guri hydroelectric dam that normally provides about 60 percent of the nation’s power demand, but without enough water to run it at full capacity, the government is shutting off electricity for hours every day.
This energy crisis is coupled with an economy in shambles. Inflation is above 700 percent, that’s the highest rate in the world. All this is due to the poor decision making of an extremist government that’s been led by Hugo Chavez and his successor Nicolas Maduro. They’ve been gradually destroying business with a tsunami of regulations, price controls and government takeovers, which has eliminated the private production of many goods and services. So people have bags full of cash, but nothing to buy. Grocery store shelves are bare, and hunger is spreading rapidly.
The most tragic part of this story is that Venezuela is sitting on the world’s largest reserves of black gold, so with all that oil it should be on the opposite end of the spectrum--it should be one of the healthier economies in the world.
To understand why it’s not, I think two points are worth highlighting: 1) Venezuela has a tumultuous modern history, with constant - and often violent - struggles for power, so Venezuelans have had to put up with a lot of turmoil and don’t expect much stability from their government, and 2) the country is still suffering from the aftermath of the rule of Hugo Chavez, a charismatic firebrand who rose through the military and led two failed coup attempts before becoming President. After himself surviving a coup attempt, Chavez ruled Venezuela during the Bush years, and constantly portrayed himself as a socialist counterweight to Bush’s imperialism. Chavez: “Yesterday the Devil came here.” He also took advantage of record high oil prices during the 2000’s to spend lavishly on his people while running irresponsibly-high budget deficits year after year. But the oil money kept flowing in, so the damage Chavez was doing wasn’t obvious until after his passing from cancer, in 2013, when his hand-picked successor - Nicolas Maduro - took power in a fraudulent election and continued Chavez’s policies.
In 2014, Venezuela suddenly found itself ranked fifth in Latin America in GDP per capita--falling from first place when Chavez took over in ’99. And as oil prices plunged, so did revenues, but the government couldn’t scale back because its spending on social programs and employment was propping up the entire economy.
Fed up - especially over moves like jailing the leader of the opposition - Venezuelans showed their displeasure at the ballot box and earlier this year, Maduro’s United Socialist Party lost control of the legislature in a landslide, but he packed the courts with judges who so far have defeated lawmakers’ efforts to remove him from office. Maduro’s also following the dictator playbook by declaring a state of emergency and revving up the military that will be his last line of defense if large numbers of Venezuelans take to the streets in revolt.
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2 лет назад