Venezuela: Presenting our case, to whoever wants to join our efforts.
It´s not only help we need, it´s beyond that.
In 2013 when Nicolas Maduro was elected to the Presidency of Venezuela, the price of oil started to crash. It was more or less a coincidence but our problems started to multiply without any solution in the short run. (These problems are expected when you have an oil dependent economy like ours, but we never learn). For us, it´s all about oil and petroleum.
We make the headlines quite often and our situation is “well known” outside of our country (or people think they know well our situation). There´s a difference and you have live here to understand it. Things are in pretty bad shape here. Cops have alliances with thugs (their most common “job” is to kidnap people. “Express” as we call it), young boys and girls are dropping out of Universities at a record rate because they simply cannot afford to study and this is a country where education is free and universal for all. The vast majority of these young ones leave for Peru, Ecuador, Chile or Argentina…by bus… They abandon our country to find better ways of survival; this is our lost generation, just when the 21st century is beginning.
The working class can only eat bananas twice a day and their kids are passing out at school because of bad nutrition. Despite that, a fair share of government supporters are among them. They say that nothing is the government´s fault; it´s an imperial economic war (waged by the U.S. and the opposition) against the poor because they control the means of production. 18 years of a socialist government and the rich still control the means of production?…Ok. In the meantime Maduro and his follies are living the high life, with Venezuela´s money, playing with our hunger but no…he´s a man of the people. Typical.
Good luck with medicines if you get sick, some diseases like malaria are starting to come back strongly in our slums; all you can do is wait and die. I have never seen this kind of downgrade in the living standards of a country in the Americas and i know that there are worse places to be in the world as of now. But still…
For all our troubles, if you ask a venezuelan what worries him or her the most, you will either hear “economy” or “insecurity”. Politics, education, health care, culture and even the future are issues that are not an immediate concern in the mind of a venezuelan citizen, which leads me to believe that venezuelans could not care less about who leads them…as long as they can pay the bills and save some money, buy food without long lines with crime (relatively) under control and some personal freedom to choose. That´s why Hugo Chavez is so dearly beloved here: it´s not exactly him we remember, we remember the economy of his Presidency, when oil was at 100 dollars in average for most of his rule. If Nicolas Maduro (the most moronic President in all the Americas, Donald Trump included) were that fortunate, we would have the same result.
However, this is not the case and after 18 years of a crooked policy (3 of them under Maduro) we need to be careful what we wish for. Remember that we wished for Chavez to die, and he did…then came Maduro. The opposition is screaming for the international community to apply pressure on Maduro´s government in the form of economic sanctions, etc. Under normal circumstances i would agree but i don´t know what normal is anymore. And some U.S. senators are now talking about sanctioning Venezuela´s oil industry directly…
I was in favor of it before but not right now. Let me clue you into something: The oil industry is not just an industry for Venezuela, it is Venezuela´s ONLY INDUSTRY and the government´s sole way of income in hard currency matters. Losing it (even if it´s in the hands of Maduro) until a hopefully sane government takes over will lead to more chaos and maybe even an open conflict. The conditions in our country are far worse than the time when “El caracazo” happened, on February 27,1989. Back then, hundreds of people died (thousands on some accounts) in an uprising mainly in response to economic reforms and the resulting increase in the price of gasoline and transportation.
Why is there not a general uprising now? Beats me. But if the flow of oil money is cut and Maduro can´t control his supporters and/or his military (both of which depend heavily on PetroDollars) it will be the opening of a power vacuum and a struggle not convenient to any of our neighbors or the U.S.A. A “survivor of the fittest” competition will follow that will pit venezuelans against themselves; a human disaster not ever seen in our history.
A very delicate diplomatic approach in which all the countries that share a border with Venezuela (and the U.S.) is required. Why the U.S.? Look up how many illegal venezuelans live in Doral, Florida. Just as China does not want to deal with a fall of North Korea, it´s in the interests of these named countries to contain our problems and keeping them in here, not exporting them. No one wants venezuelans flocking to their country, not more than now at least. It´s a very complicated political compromise.
Of course, this is easier said than done but we all need to get creative in order to avoid any hard outcomes. Venezuelans don´t have the time to think about Maduro, we´re in survival mode and that gives him room to breathe, we need help. But to deprive this government of “their income”, it´s a bad call too. So we should all sit and wait? No, man. We have a big debt, our oil quality and production is declining…Venezuela will also explode if we do nothing. Whatever we do, it has to be done properly, taking into account all the variables. Otherwise? It may sound harsh and i hope it does not happen but i see another Syria in South America. The detonating factor could be anything.
Good day and good luck.