Venezuela or why a rich country now have one of the worst performing economy in the world
It’s not surprising what happening in Venezuela and it could indeed get worse if the army gets divided between the pro-Maduro or the anti-Maduro camp. Some parts of major cities in Venezuela are absolute warzones — and the police don’t even go in some areas anymore.
My family visited Venezuela once about 20 years ago — and I’ve met many people from the diaspora in the many places close to Venezuela that I visited. You can easily see Venezuela from the island of Aruba only a dozen of kilometers away and I am sure that some people are tempted to immigrate there illegally to find work or just to have access to food and basic necessities.
I hope too what’s happening in Venezuela is a lesson for westerners on why they should never trust a Latin American leader who is keen on authoritarianism. When Chavez wanted to close TV channels because they talked against him or they tried to found every loophole possible to reform the constitution like this happened 10 years ago, some westerners were applauding him because he was anti-imperalist.
Chavismo made a lot of things worse in Venezuela. He found a way to politicize anything and have the most obedient people rather than the most competent people. Chavez government fired the most competent people at the state oil company and most of them went either to the US, Canada or Mexico to find work because they are very skilled and most of them are bilingual. But these policies backfired on Maduro — because without big money from oil— it’s impossible to pay for social programs.
The reason why Chavismo failed is that clientelism will always fail one way or another. It was a myth that Chavez especially cared about the poor — he only cared about those who were able to vote for him while finding a way to get his family and friends *very* rich. It’s not surprising that the richest person in Venezuela is Hugo Chavez daughter. Why Chavez/Maduro is so keen on anti-American rhetoric is being allied to Iran and Syria is not because they hate the US. Indeed most of Venezuelans including those close to Chavez/Maduro party (the PSUV) love the US when it suits their interests but the US (or Colombia) was always seen as the bogeyman per excellence for Chavez/Maduro when things went badly for them. It’s just a wedge issue like others.
In conclusion, Venezuelans are really smart people for the most part. They have a rich country full of great people but which is having hard times. There are doing their best considering that recent events would have been difficult for anyone in the world. Let’s just hope that things go better for them in the future even it can take a while.