VENEZUELA: Running out of Options – Opinion

VENEZUELA: Running out of Options

May 14, 201 –  Editorial – Kaieteur News

“The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”—Sir Winston Churchill. These words could apply to Venezuela which is a socialist country that is today sharing its miseries.

Venezuela is one of the most blessed countries. It is endowed with more oil deposits than any other country in the world and the quality of the crude is very good, requiring less refining operations than other countries. Venezuela has eight times the oil reserves of Nigeria, which is beset with myriad problems.  

Bureaucracy, oil theft, kidnapping and terrorism are just a few. Yet Nigeria produces more oil than Venezuela today.

It is estimated that Venezuela has about US$14.3 trillion in natural resources, yet it is very poor. Japan, South Korea and Singapore have no natural resources and their soil is very poor, but these countries are very wealthy. Japan is considered an industrial miracle. Apart from being the world’s largest auto manufacturer, Japan also produces electronic devices, computers, petrochemicals, aerospace equipment and pharmaceuticals and is a leading shipbuilder.

Like Japan, South Korea is also an industrial miracle. In the 1970s, it was described by the World Bank as being of “African Standard” which is the code for “broke.” Unfortunately for South Korea, the mineral resources on the Korean peninsula are all in North Korea which is very poor because its leader is busy developing nuclear weapons to destroy everyone else, rather than develop his country.

Today, South Korea is one of the world’s leading industrial giants and one of the Asian tigers producing semi-conductors, automobiles, wireless telecommunications and ship building. It exports US$552 billion of goods annually and is engaged in massive economic expansion programmes.

Venezuela is 1,309 times the size of Singapore, which is about half the size of Berbice. Singapore has no natural resources. It imports water from neighbouring Malaysia. Yet, it has one of the most prosperous and advanced economies in the world. In 2016, its exports were U.S$415 billion while Venezuela could not afford US$5 billion to pay its debts.

Venezuela, Guyana and several countries in Africa and Latin America have an estimated $100 trillion in resources compared to the U.S. with $45 trillion, yet these countries are poor because they have not benefited much from their natural endowments.

Despite being a resource rich country, Venezuela is in a political and economic crisis that has led to shortages of basic goods and soaring inflation of 1,500 percent. Its currency is worthless. It cost 3,000 bolivars to buy US$1. Food shortages are everywhere and many are starving because they do not have money to purchase foodstuffs, which have risen 8,000 percent in the last year.

In addition, there are frequent water and power shortages, and hospitals, schools have collapsed, heaping pain on Venezuelans, especially children. It seems that Venezuela is heading back to the 19th century.

Its economic implosion has forced the Maduro government to use Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies to pay its creditors. The government has told Venezuelans to use the coins to pay taxes and public services. But with the minimum wage hovering around $3 a month, the citizens are unable to buy the coins in large amounts.

Driven by hunger and hardship, Venezuelans are forced to eat rabbit as a cheaper source of meat and they are fleeing by the thousands to Columbia and Brazil, onward to neighbouring Spanish-speaking countries of Argentina and Chile. Between 2015 and 2017, nearly one million adult Venezuelans and three million children have fled their country.

Despite Venezuela’s problems and President Maduro’s unpopularity, he is expected to win re-election scheduled for May 20th, given that he has barred the opposition‘s most popular leaders from participating in the election.

During the campaign, Maduro has blamed the economic crisis on the United States and the opposition. However, Maduro seems to be running out of options, because the Trump administration might impose more sanctions on Venezuela if the elections are rigged.

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  • ANTICONQUISTA  On 05/15/2018 at 7:38 pm

    This is a regurgitation of mainstream media lies about Venezuela. Don’t fall for the white imperialist media that is trying to divide our people. Capitalist economic sabotage, not socialism, is causing problems in Venezuela. Maduro and the Venezuelan people have chosen the path of revolution, not subordination to foreign multinational corporations. Hopefully one day Guyana will nationalize its oil profits, too, so that it can feed its starving people instead of handing it off to foreign companies like ExxonMobil.

  • Clyde Duncan  On 05/15/2018 at 9:17 pm

    1. “Involuntary Exodus” is Forcing 10% of Venezuelan Population to Abandon Their Country

    The Organization of American States Secretary General Luis Almagro has sent a message to the Venezuelan people that are experiencing an involuntary exodus, forced upon them by the growing economic and institutional degradation of the country. By the end of this year it is estimated that over 10% of the Venezuela population will have left the country.

    “The data speaks for itself. According to the International Organization for Migration, in 2015 some 698,000 Venezuelans lived outside of Venezuela. At the end of 2017, there were already 1.6 million. It is very likely that this situation will worsen if the fraudulent elections of May 20 are finally held and, as expected, consolidate the dictatorial power of the current regime.”

    The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) already estimates that this year the figure could more than double, even surpassing 3 million people, 10 percent of the total Venezuelan population.

    2. Brazilian State asks Supreme Tribunal to “temporarily” close border with Venezuela

    Roraima Governor Suely Campos petitioned the high court to order the federal government to step up assistance for her state to deal with what she called a humanitarian crisis. She also asked that the border be closed until orderly immigration procedures could be put in place.

    Campos said she had to resort to the top court because the federal government had not acted on her state’s requests. It is not clear if the court will take up her plea.

    More than 50,000 Venezuelan refugees have arrived in Roraima since last year, fleeing an economic crisis and political strife in their country, the governor told reporters. The influx was nearly equal to 10% of the state’s population of 520,000 inhabitants.

    Brazil’s President Michel Temer, attending the Summit of the Americas in Lima, said closing the border was “unthinkable”.

    Temer said his government was delivering assistance requested by Roraima, and he hoped the Supreme Court would deny the state’s plea to shut the border.

    “It is NOT Brazil’s way of doing things – closing borders,” he told reporters.


  • Clyde Duncan  On 05/18/2018 at 9:36 pm

    I Want to Vote White – None of the Above

    Anabella Abadi M. | Caracas Chronicles

    “I’m definitely voting. You should too.”

    “I’m not voting. Period.”

    I must have heard both phrases quite a few times now, never from my own mouth. And I don’t think either represents the right attitude.

    I’ve voted a dozen times since I turned 18 in 2004, but only two or three times for someone instead of against someone. You could say I’m one of those eternal oppositionists: No political leader has been able to keep the romance alive after sweeping me off my feet. I fall out of love and even respect quite easily, especially when I take a closer and critical look at candidates.

    If I had the option, I would vote white, a white that has nothing to do with Henry Ramos Allup’s age-old – and spirit-old – Acción Democrática.

    A white vote, also known as a blank vote or a protest vote, is the one that’s cast to demonstrate the voter’s dissatisfaction with the choice of candidates. Though some countries only have a null vote – that includes from protest votes to “oops, I didn’t press the bottom hard enough” – others have a valid blank vote that stands for “none of the above”.

    For example, the Colombian two-round system has a white vote that can affect the electoral results. If, in the first round, the white option gets the majority, the elections must be annulled and new candidates must be presented. Though it has never happened, the option is available.

    In Venezuela we only have a null vote that tends to be used to calculate voters’ “mistakes” and it’s not considered a protest. Moreover, we, Venezuelans, tend to “punish” a candidate by voting for another.

    I think we’re in dire need of a “protest vote” option; I’d love to tell the candidates that I think they all suck, not only on Facebook and Twitter, but where it hurts the most: In the Ballot Box.

    Though I don’t think this will happen any time soon, the white vote option should be discussed and considered.

    Venezuelans should be able to bring the protest to the ballot boxes, especially when the candidates are showing no respect whatsoever for the real needs of the voters.

    Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.

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