Since 2014, Venezuela has faced many crises, but this year things got out of control. Inflation has become the “world’s largest”, according to the IMF. The shortage of medicine led Parliament to declare a ‘humanitarian crisis.’ The rationing of electricity and water made the population and businesses worry even more. Supermarket shelves lie empty due to lack of supply and increases in crime.
President Nicolas Maduro blames the fall in oil prices and the sabotage of business by the crisis. The opposition, however, says that the socialist model is the main cause of Venezuela’s economic woes. The situation began to draw the attention of the world with more emphasis on the 15th of January, when Nicolas Maduro declared a state of emergency.
This gave the government a range of powers to establish measures in order to ensure the supply of basic goods to the population. Due to the the lack of medicines, the parliament enacted the ‘humanitarian crisis,’ as infants and the chronically ill die in great numbers for lack of medicines.
Nicolas Maduro announced a number of economic measures, including raising the minimum wage and the price of oil, which rose for the first time in 20 years. Even with these measures, the situation only got worse, and the state of emergency was extended. To save electricity, the government decreed public sector holiday on Fridays and later on Wednesday and Thursday, and even implemented a new time zone. All these measures began to be taken from February and it appears that will not end in the near future.
Last weeek, Maduro ordered the Bolivarian National Armed Forces to mobilize the artillery to prepare to face, he said, “any external aggression”, amid an increase in social conflicts and opposition attempts to remove him from power through a revocatory referendum.
For years Venezuela has been one of the most violent countries in the world and with these crises, crime has only increased. An example is a popular shopping centre, which is forced to close at 7pm because of electricity rationing- but had it remained open, it would not be visited due to then violence.
Seven days ago, Coca Cola stopped production for lack of sugar. Compared to other basic products, the refrigerant becomes irrelevant. Venezuelans have been forced to ration food such as beans, rice, flour, essential foods that are now in worringly short supply.
On Sunday, German airline Lufthansa announced the suspension of its thrice-weekly flights to Venezuela due to the economic crisis and foreign exchange controls in force in the country. On Monday, May 30, the Chilean and Brazilian airline, Latam, also announced the suspension of its flights to São Paulo, Brazil and Lima, Chile.
The whole world is concerned. The G7 , the union of the world’s most industrialised countries, have asked the government of Venezuela to talk to the people, respecting fundamental rights and freedoms. Latin American countries also want to discuss the case with their troubled neighbour.
Social tension continues to increase, and demonstrations are taking place throughout the country, especially in the capital Caracas. The opposition has presented 1.85 million signatures to the National Electoral Council (CNE) asking to convene a recall referendum against the president.
In Venezuela, the opposition is not very strong . Nicolas Maduro does not intend to leave power. With all the problems, it is not a question of living, say many Venezuelans, but one of survival.