Opinion: How we need to combat the Venezuelan crisis
March 14, 2017
Filed under Opinions
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Venezuela is in the midst of a severe economic crisis and is currently enduring one of the largest economic declines in global history. However, most Americans are not aware of what Venezuelan people are going through.
This crisis has been the culmination of several factors, but is primarily due to the decisions made by late President Hugo Chávez and the current presidency of Nicolás Maduro.
The socialist regime of President Chávez has been likened to that of Fidel Castro, the late president of Cuba. Similarities have even been drawn between the two leaders regarding the fleeing of natives on boats to escape the regime.
First things first, why is Venezuela’s economy on the brink of completely collapsing? Oil. Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the entire world, but the country is now facing oil prices that have dropped exponentially – from over $100 a gallon to only $25.
The country has become so impoverished that the government can no longer afford to export its oil, their main economic resource.
Another factor that has played a huge role in the collapse, partially resulting from the oil crisis, is hyperinflation. Venezuela’s currency, the bolivar, has steeply declined in the past few years — it is now worth less than one American penny (approximately $0.0011).
The hyperinflation of the country has led to despair in all aspects of life in Venezuela. Not only has the price of food and medicine increased astronomically, but shelves are left barren in supermarkets.
Food is so expensive that even grocery stores cannot afford to purchase food. Venezuelans wait, on average, eight hours a day to have access to food.
The government has issued that the workweek will be limited to Mondays and Tuesdays. In the midst of this crisis, the homicide rate has also increased – 90 people for every 100,000.
So what can be done about this seemingly irreversible dilemma? More specifically, what can we as Americans do to aid Venezuelans?
The primary action that Americans can take is to stay informed about the crisis. Staying informed and aware of every action taking place in Venezuela is important when forming an appropriate opinion and speaking out against the shortcomings of the Venezuelan government.
The regime of Nicolás Maduro has the ability to reverse some of the damages of the crisis, but it is not taking the appropriate actions.
In response to the food crisis, the government has issued a rationing program for the remaining food to be dispersed throughout the country. This rationing program is inefficient and ineffective.
If the rationing program could be altered to resemble something similar to the United States government food stamp program, this would dramatically increase the quality of life for Venezuelans.
Creating a safe environment to speak out against the shortcomings of the Venezuelan government is the only way that certain issues can come to light.
Listening to the stories of Venezuelans will help shape opinions and glean information that would not be heard otherwise.
The final and most important way to aid in Venezuela’s economic crisis is to donate. Donate money, non-perishable foods, clothes or your time. Sponsor a child through SOS Children, donate to the International Red Cross or shop with the Humanitarian Aid for Venezuela.
Surely, Americans have domestic issues to deal with. But the conditions that Venezuelan families are dealing with everyday need to be understood and improved.