Venezuela is a country located in South America which borders with Colombia and Brazil. It has the largest oil reserves on earth and rich minerals to be exploited. Today, the Venezuelan people are now struggling to not lose the last breath of freedom. Venezuela is the most critical and sensitive topic in the Latin American region.
After World War II Venezuela was home for hundreds of immigrants from Europe, the Middle East, and other Latin American countries. Specifically, since 2013, the imperative crisis has induced thousands of Venezuelans, from shop owners to all kind of well-prepared professionals to emigrate. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) statics, Venezuelans have recently become the biggest group of asylum-seekers in the United States, surpassing China and Mexico.
What is going on in Venezuela?
Venezuelans are living their deepest and historically political, social, and humanitarian crisis. The socialism and populism applied by the former President Hugo Chavez drove this country into a harmful polarity. This makes his supporters increasingly dependent and submissive.
Chavez was a true outsider. He was a great communicator who manipulated the masses. Chavez had an anti-political persona that raised him to the presidency in 1999. Some of the promises the candidate used to win the election were to eliminate poverty, create a stronger economy and a greater independence from what he called “the imperialism;” referring to the United States government.
The hunger of power put in evidence the worst of this individual. He nationalized private investments,
expropriated the productive national apparatus, and established an oil-dependent economy.
Chavez, in the meanwhile, proposed a dreamed life for many people, one where everyone would be able to achieve the same things with equal opportunity. His extravagant and wasteful mentality kept him in power.
One of the greatest achievements of the “Bolivarian Revolution,” as they call it, is the total control and power over the four “autonomous” state branches; judicial, electoral, citizen, and legislative. Adding to this formula, was the submission of the military and national guard, as well as foreign interference and negotiations with Cuba, Russia, and Iran.
In June 2011, Chavez was diagnosed with cancer. He perished on March 5, 2013, but not before leaving his legacy to his successor, Nicolas Maduro, who added narcotraffic and terrorism to the aforementioned equation.
Maduro inherited a country in total chaos, with the highest crime rates in the world, and an unsustainable economy. The chaos created by the previous administration made the few that remained in support turn out in opposition.
On April 23, 2013, Maduro was sworn by the state branches. In the photo, from left to right: President of Electoral Power, Citizen Power, Legislative, Executive, and Judicial.
In 2015, a legislative election was held. The opposition party won 67 percent of the national assembly seats. Finally, the Venezuelan people were represented and had a voice in the political field.
This representation did not last long because Maduro dissolved the national assembly. The Supreme Court illegitimatized the power of the legislative branch and awarded it to the executive branch.
On July 30, 2017, the fraudulent electoral power announced the winning of the now pro-government majority in the new Constituent Assembly powered by Maduro. This is the assembly who is going to rewrite the current constitution.
Most Venezuelan people want to get out of the truculent regime and are claiming freedom. However, all the powers under the control of state institutions. These threaten their workers with firing them, a taking away their properties, and, persecuting those that do not agree with the government, which seems to be a losing battle at this point.
Nevertheless, since 2014, an incredible number of brave young people, mainly students, have taken to the streets with incessant protests and demonstrations that have resulted in hundreds killed and thousands arrested. They have been fighting, using stones against bullets and tear gas. These are students against military force and the armed-civilian bands called “Colectivos.”
What are they fighting for?
Overall, they want to get their country back and to recover their dignity and freedom.
Not only does Venezuela have the largest reserve of oil on earth, it has the lowest quality of life on a global index, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit.
- For being the first country in the corruption perception index in the Americas;
- For being the second country in the repression index just behind of North Korea;
- For having a horrendous hyperinflation, leading it too, the first place worldwide with 800 percentage of inflation and going up;
- For having a regime that does not accept humanitarian and international help to the Venezuelan people who are struggling an unacceptable shortage of everything, from toilet paper to the most basic medicine;
- For the insensible lack of attention to the hospitals and healthcare field;
- For having hundreds of patients dying not for the lack of professional training but because of the egoism of a group;
- For having the country with the highest rate of crime.
Sadly, the situation in Venezuela is getting worse and deeper. It is a country with blessed lands and a miracle of nature. The population is receptive, warm and hardworking people, multicultural and diverse; from Natives to Europeans, Arabs, Africans, Asians, and other Latin American roots.
Millions of Venezuelan citizens have been forced to the point of no return. Leaving them with the decision to either, stay and fight a losing battle against the dictatorship or run away and, as millions of immigrant families have, to find a new home.
Written by Bassil Sockar
Edited Cathy Milne
Fox News World: Venezuelans lead in US asylum requests as crisis deepens
The Standard: Venezuela envoy tells dictator Maduro to leave ‘failed state’
The Hill: 3 strikes and Maduro must be out in Venezuela
BreitBart: OAS Head Calls for U.S. Sanctions on Venezuela, ‘The Most Corrupt Country on the Continent
CNN Money: Venezuela: How a rich country collapsed
GEAB: Top 10 Countries With The World’s Biggest Oil Reserves
CNN: CNN is in Venezuela: Latest updates from the ground
Reuters: National strike in Venezuela
CNN: Venezuela’s political crisis explained
The New York Times: How to Avoid Civil War in Venezuela
The Daily Signal: Socialism Has Destroyed Venezuela
HERITAGE: Country Rankings
Fox News: Venezuela’s health crisis nearing catastrophe, government pleads for help
NUMBEO: Crime Index for Country 2017 Mid-Year
GALLUP: Venezuelans Lose Faith in Rule of Law
CATO Institute: Economic Headwinds: Big Players, Regime Uncertainty and the Misery Index; The World’s Most – And Least – Miserable Countries in 2016
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Top Image Courtesy of TUBS for Wikimedia – Creative Commons License
First Inset Image Courtesy of Hugo Londoño for Wikimedia – Creative Commons License
Second Inset Image by Xavier Granja Cedeño of the Cancilleria del Ecuador’s Photostream – Creative Commons License
Third Inset Image Courtesy of Spariquice for Wikimedia – Creative Commons License