So Venezuela is an absolute mess right now. People are living in poverty – there’s not enough food, electricity, or medical supplies to go around, despite Venezuela having one of the biggest oil reserves in the world. It used to be a rich country, so… wtf happened?
Everything was going great when Huge Chavez was president, as the oil was owned by the state and was being sold for $100 a barrel. The president used this money to fund social care and food subsidies, and was regarded as a hero until he died in 2013.
He then appointed Nicolas Maduro as his successor – who proceeded to rack up loads of debt, which wasn’t a great idea seeing as oil was pretty much their only source of income. Even though Chavez had funded lots of social programs etc., there wasn’t much of a sustainable economy without oil. And then guess what happened? Oil prices crashed and there was no money anymore.
This also meant they didn’t have any foreign money to buy goods from other countries – like medicine. 756 women died during and shortly after childbirth last year, a 76% increase from 2015. Yeah. Horrific.
Maduro was faced with a choice. He could either start paying off the billions of dollars of debts to other countries, or borrow food and supplies from abroad to feed his people – and he chose to pay off the debts. Or attempt to.
The country entered a state of crisis. Nobody can afford to eat, inflation is rising, and people are literally dying. Droughts mean there sometimes isn’t any clean water. In short, everything’s gone to shit. What did Maduro have to say about it? “Going without makes you tough”. Riiiight.
Then in March, the absolute SNAKE decided his party would take control of the whole government.
Protests kicked off, with over 100 people being killed over the course of six months. The court reversed their decision shortly after, but Maduro called a vote (that took place on Sunday 30th July), to elect a new political assembly, made up of 545 pro-government legislators, giving him the power to rewrite the Venezuelan constitution.
The whole thing was totally corrupt. There was no way that the government could lose when all the candidates, including his wife and son, were supporters of his administration. There was also no minimum amount of votes needed for it to be valid. So even if 100 people voted out of the whole country, it still would have been A-OK.
The voting was an absolute mess. One of the candidates, José Félix Pineda, was shot dead in his own home on the Saturday night, before the vote had even begun on the Sunday. On the day, huge protests kicked off around Venezuela, as well as in Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Peru, Spain and the United States. Ten people were killed amid the protests in Venezuela.
Then, of course, Maduro got his way. A host of Latin American nations, including Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Colombia, have since called the vote illegitimate, and last Wednesday, the EU said its members would not recognize the new Constituent Assembly (sigh, if only we could still be a part of that).
But it doesn’t stop there.
Early last Tuesday morning, two opposition leaders (the ringleaders of the ‘lets take down Maduro’ brigade), Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma, were taken from their homes where they were living under house arrest for inciting protest against the government.
They were taken by Venezuelan Intelligence service SEBIN (like their version of MI5 or the CIA) and detained in prison. Trump called for them to be released, calling it “an outrage”. I know, it’s weird seeing him as the good guy.
Lopez had a feeling that this was going to happen, and he recorded a video weeks in advance, telling protesters to keep up the good fight. His wife released it after he was taken.
Then, last Friday, Trump threatened military action, to which Maduro held a protest rally about yesterday. His Defence Minister said, “this is a time for reflection, you are either a Venezuelan patriot, or pro-Yankee”. Aka, “you either support us or you support them”. Passing the blame, much?
So basically, we could be looking at another Vietnam situation here. Remember that one from school? Things aren’t looking good. Action needs to be taken to straighten this mess out – and urgently.
Donate to a GoFundMe sending medical supplies to Venezuela here
Donate to children’s charity Chamos here