By Shafiq Kyazze.

Venezuela was once the richest country in South America. It has some of the largest known oil reserves in the world and was seen as a beacon of progress in Latin America.  However, the current president, Nicolas Maduro and his predecessor, Hugo Chavez, helped to see to it that this great progress was reversed, running the country into turmoil.

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, holding a copy of the country’s constitution, addresses supporters at the presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela, after electoral officials declared he was re-elected on Sunday, May 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

The administration’s persistent socialist and authoritarian policies have ensured its fall from grace.  Empty shelves, rampant corruption and smugglers depict a clear image of the turmoil. A recent university study showed that 90% of civilians were living in poverty last year with most of those surveyed having lost 11 kg in body weight.

A father and daughter rest while someone holds their place before sunrise in a long line to buy basic foodstuffs in Tachirastate, Venezuela. Shortage of such products as flour, milk and sugar have made life increasingly difficult for residents of Tachira, which has been a focal point for anti-government protests for almost a month.

Senior economist at Pantheon macroeconomics, Andres Abadia, labelled Venezuela a disaster area and added that as long as Maduro is in power, the economy will continue to collapse.  With all this chaos happening, there has been a deafening silence from his supporters including the incumbent leader of opposition in the UK parliament, Jeremy Corbyn as well as renown supporter and retired MIT professor Noam Chomsky.

The country’s inflation rate has now hit 41,838% yearly for the first time according to Steve.H. Hanke, an applied economics professor at John Hopkins University who has tracked the country’s prices for the past two decades.

The country’s failing government blames the poor economy on opposition activists and the U.S government. The country’s president blamed the hyper-rise in prices on “criminal mafias”, but nothing could be further from the truth: Maduro’s administration has accelerated its spending while the country’s revenue sources were rapidly shrinking causing them to sink deeper into an economic crisis.

A little girl sleeps in the children’s cancer ward at Luis Razetti Hospital

Venezuela’s foreign exchange reserves have fallen by about $2.5 billion in the last three months according to Capital economics, leading to a further loss in value of the Bolivar, the country’s official currency. “Everyone who has a bolivar wants to get rid of it like a hot potato because they expect it’s not going to be worth anything tomorrow.” Hanke added.

 

Shafiq is a Chemical engineering student at The University of Manchester and has a strong interest in philosophy and history having been exposed to such issues at a very young age. He is also very keen on topics concerning the global economy, politics, and social issues, but when he’s not engrossed in such conversations, you can find him supporting the Barcelona football team or writing contributor articles for The Common Sense Network.