Venezuela Imposes State Of Emergency As Economic And Political Crisis Worsens
International concerns are growing as embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro seeks to maintain control over a nation torn by political strife and weakened by economic socialism. With the oil-dependent country’s economy imploding under recession and hyperinflation, public sentiment is backing Maduro’s ouster.
But the socialist president is not backing down and, in fact, has imposed a state of emergency and ordered military exercises to demonstrate he can tackle domestic and foreign threats. Maduro is rejecting calls for a referendum, saying there is no legal requirement for him to hold a vote.
“Such statements have led to expressions of concern from many of Venezuela’s neighbours. Trinidad and Tobago, fearing a possible failed state on its doorstep, says that it is preparing for a ‘worst case scenario,’” reports The Guardian.
The problem, as The Guardian notes, is that even loyalists are questioning Maduro’s rule.
The case against Chavez – and by extension Maduro – is spelled out in the statistics. According to The Telegraph, the damage done by decades under socialism have become painfully obvious to all Venezuelans.
“The International Monetary Fund has been banned from conducting its annual economic healthcheck of the country since 2004, but believes growth won’t get back to positive territory until the next decade, while inflation is on course to hit 4,505pc in 2021.
“A recent study by the Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice ranked Caracas as the world’s most violent city.
“Venezuela is also one of the most unfriendly places to do business, ranking 186th out of 189 countries in the World Bank’s Doing Business index,” the paper reports.
Matt O’Brien of the Washington Post employs a frank tone in stating the hole into which Venezuela has fallen.
“Never has a country that should have been so rich been so poor,” he writes.
“There’s no mystery here. Venezuela’s government is to blame. Sure, $50-a-barrel oil hasn’t helped, but it hasn’t hurt so much that a ‘Mad Max’-style dystopia was inevitable. After all, every other country whose economy begins and ends at its oil wells has at least managed to avoid that fate. Which is to say that Venezuela is a man-made disaster,” adds O’Neil.
More to the point, it is a man-made disaster under a corrupt government.
“It’s a gangster state that doesn’t know how to do anything other than sell drugs and steal money for itself. Indeed, two of President Nicolás Maduro’s nephews were arrested on charges of conspiring to bring 800 kilos of cocaine into the United States, the president’s right-hand man is suspected of running a drug ring himself, and public money has a habit of disappearing into what could only be private pockets,” reports O’Neil.
What next for Venezuela?
“Until there’s political change, there won’t be economic change,” Richard Hausmann, a former chief economist at the Inter-American Development Bank, tells The Christian Science Monitor.
Considering Nicolas Maduro has fallen into the same dictatorial habit of assigning blame to the United States and CIA interference, that political change is unlikely to come anytime soon.