Venezuela: A Country At War with Itself

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Venezuela has been under severe crisis for decades now and every year seems to be getting worse under an authoritative dictator, Nicolas Maduro. Venezuela has struggled to improve their situation because of their government system comprised of a dictator with an obsessive desire for power, a deteriorating economy, and failed attempts to reduce crime rates.

Venezuela’s current problem is its president, Nicolas Maduro. He took office in 2013 following the death of former president, Hugo Chavez. He is a member of the socialist party and since he took office, has blocked any form of humanitarian aid from entering the country, cut ties with countries who offer aid, and carried on the corrupt ideology of “Chavismo”, first introduced by Hugo Chavez. His goal is to enforce extreme nationalism and have a centralized economy. Juan Guaido has been elected by the President, Donald Trump, as the interim president of Venezuela. Juan Guaidó is the leader of Venezuela’s opposition-controlled national assembly and has gained the support of the majority of Venezuela’s population. He has been highly targeted by Maduro since he rose and planned to improve his country.

Venezuela’s economy is based on its petroleum manufacturing and production. Back in the ‘70s, Venezuela was benefiting from their oil boom with its currency peak against the US dollar. This problem arose during Hugo Chavez’s presidency. According to Forbes, “The near decade-long rise in oil prices that followed improved government finances and allowed the socialist regime to increase both spending and borrowing. Oil accounts for 96% of Venezuela’s exports, so when the price of crude collapsed in 2014, the economy took another major hit”. According to the IMF, the Venezuelan economy “shrank by 30% from 2013 through 2017. Store shelves are bare and the black market prices for many basic items have soared.” Since Maduro blocked all exports towards countries such as the United States and Cuba, the country has lost its source of economic imports. According to a study by the opposition-controlled National Assembly, “ The annual inflation rate reached 1,300,000% in the 12 months to November 2018… and has left many Venezuelans struggling to afford basic items such as food and toiletries”.

Finally, another one of the final reasons why Venezuela continues to struggle is because of the government’s negligence towards reducing crime throughout the country. Hunger seems to fuel the violence that occurs in the cities. The average Venezuelan lost 24 pounds in 2017 and hundreds of thousands of children are at risk of death from malnutrition. According to an article by TIME, “Desperate people in Venezuela don’t rob stores or banks. There would be no point; cash machines have been mostly empty since early this year, when hyperinflation transformed the bolívar into a worthless piece of paper. But desperate people in Venezuela do rob restaurants. As the country creaks into its fifth year of economic crisis, hunger is on everyone’s minds. Nine out of 10 households say they don’t have enough money to buy food. Nearly two-thirds go to sleep hungry at night.” Crime should not happen at all, even less for the need to feed someone’s family.

With such chaos happening, many Americans who have family in Venezuela are left worrying for their relatives and what to do to help them. Donald Trump has already issued a statement saying he’s planning to fully help Venezuela and Juan Guaido in this time of crisis. For those who wish to take more action, they can join organizations such as “Cuatro por Venezuela Foundations” and donate money to help them. The only problem with this is that it might be difficult for any kind of aid to reach Venezuela since Maduro made it clear that he does not want anything to do with any country, especially the United States.

In conclusion, at the time, Venezuela’s citizen’s are looking at many more crucial years with Maduro in power. The only little hope left, is seen with individuals such as Juan Gaudio who contain a passionate devotion in restoring peace to their country and fixing the mess Hugo Chavez began.