The Venezuelan Crisis


Andrés E. Azpúrua

Tear gas used by the National Police in Venezuela against a protest Caracas.

By Kelly Davila, Staff Writer

Venezuela is suffering from a recession and hyper-inflation. To make matters worse their president Nicolas Maduro wants to rewrite the Venezuelan constitution so that regional elections and the presidential vote would be moved to occur in 2018.

“‘You wanted your elections,” Maduro said of the opposition while announcing the constitutional rewrite on Wednesday. “Here are your elections,”‘NBC reported.

Venezuelans in response have engaged in violent protests since then. Maduro in return has ordered armed forces to be in the street and attempt to keep things in order. This combined with the mass starvation has the country in turmoil.

“Today in Venezuela, soldiers are brutalizing protesters in the streets. Opposition leaders are murdered. The press is muzzled. And people are desperately hungry—” Also, “A recent study found that the average Venezuelan has lost nearly 20 pounds in the past year as food supplies dwindle,” according to National Review.

It came as a shock to many due to how Venezuela was considered one of the richest countries in Latin America for having the largest proven oil reserves in the world. It is getting to the point where the shortages in food and medicine is creating a humanitarian emergency and many that can are fleeing the country.

Maduro inherited the country as the economy was becoming in ruin due to how Hugo Chavez dealt with the Petroleos de Venezuela, PDVSA, when they went on strike. Mr. Chavez fired 18,000 PDVSA workers and in turn the oil company was in shambles. Cash reserves depleted after a refinery exploded in 2012 and by extension the Venezuelan economy was left without any support. President Maduro, in desperation, printed money as an attempt to pay for subsidies and welfare programs, but instead it drove up inflation making normal goods unaffordable.

“The European Union is urging Venezuelan authorities to halt the use of violence against peaceful anti-government protesters and says it stands to help the country through its political crisis” released ABC News.

Barricades, tear gas, physical violence, and other tactics have been used by the public as well as armed forces. The violence is getting out of control and the amount of people getting hurt, arrested, and dying is increasing.

“At least 39 people have died, including protesters, government sympathizers, bystanders, and security forces, during six weeks of protests. Hundreds have also been hurt and arrested” announced NBC News.

This crisis is gaining attention as it drags on and even was brought to the attention of the artists that attended ‘Los Premios Billboard Latinos’ as well as the viewers at home who were tuned in. J Balvin, a hispanic rapper stated in his winning speech,  translated, “This goes to Venezuela. I know you guys are suffering, there is death and that is not okay. Lets do the something for Venezuela; the artists that are here haven’t gone back and you guys know why and we need to go to Venezuela and make for liberty.”*

Venezuela has not been able to keep the peace and/or order and it is slowly approaching the boundary of collapse.

For further information and a better understanding of how this all came to happen check out,

*”Esto va para Venezuela. Yo sé que están sufriendo, hay muertos y eso no está bien. Hagamos algo por Venezuela; los artistas que estamos aquí no hemos vuelto y ustedes saben por qué, y necesitamos ir a Venezuela y que haya más libertad” original speech by J Balvin.