The collapse of Venezuela, explained


Venezuela was once the richest country in
Latin America. It has the largest known oil reserves in the
world. And its democratic government was once praised
world wide. But today, Venezuela’s democratic institutions
and its economy are in shambles. The country has the highest inflation in the
world, making food and medicine inaccessible to most Venezuelans. Over the last four years, its GDP has fallen
35%, which is a sharper drop than the one seen during the Great Depression in the US. The country’s murder rate has surpassed
that of the most dangerous cities in the world. These conditions have sparked months of protests
against the president, Nicolas Maduro. And it’s easy to see why: the country has
become measurably worse since his election in 2013. A poll showed that about 80% of Venezuelans
want Maduro removed from office. But instead, the opposite has happened: Maduro
has consolidated his power bringing the country closer to authoritarian rule. Maduro’s political ambition became evident
in December 2015. Two years after he became president, a coalition
of opposition parties called the Democratic Unity Roundtable or MUD, won a two-thirds
majority in the National Assembly, putting Maduro’s rule at risk. In response, Maduro quickly forced out several
Supreme Court justices and filled the positions with cronies loyal to him. In March 2016, the court ruled to strip the
opposition-led National Assembly of its powers — a move that sparked massive protests across
the country. The ruling was reversed a few days later,
but the damage was done — protests continued to grow and have left about 100 dead and thousands
injured so far. Despite the violence and public outcry, Maduro
held a vote in July to elect a new governing body called the National Constituent Assembly,
which would have the power to rewrite Venezuela’s constitution and replace the National Assembly. And leave virtually non opposition to Maduro’s rule. With Maduro’s recent vote, Venezuelans didn’t have
a say in whether the assembly should exist. They only had the option to elect its members. But when Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chavez
proposed a constitutional rewrite in 1999, he first called for a referendum to propose
the election of the assembly. After most Venezuelans voted yes, they elected
a new National Constituent Assembly. See, unlike Maduro, Chavez was a charismatic
and beloved leader. In the 90s, he burst onto television sets
across the country. He blamed government corruption and Venezuela’s
elite for the economic inequality. His populist message resonated with the country’s
poor who eventually helped bring him to power. The key moment in his presidency came in 2004 when oil prices surged. Venezuela’s petroleum- dependent economy started booming and Chavez went on to spend billions from the profits on social-welfare programs for the poor. He subsidized food, improved the educational
system, built an enviable healthcare system and reduced poverty by more than half. These programs certainly helped the poor, but they served a purpose for Chavez as well. In order to be re-elected, he needed to keep
millions of poor Venezuelans happy. So he rigged the economy to do just that… He didn’t scale back Venezuela’s dependence
on oil and his unrestrained spending led to a growing deficit. Which meant all these programs would be impossible
to sustain if oil prices fell. After Chavez’s death, when Maduro took office
as his handpicked successor, that’s exactly what happened:
Oil prices plummeted in 2014 and Maduro failed to adjust. Hyperinflation has made medicines and food,
that was once subsidized, unaffordable for Venezuela’s poor, who now make up about
82% of the population. Like Chavez, Maduro has also rigged the economy
to keep himself in power, but this time it’s not benefitting the poor.
He’s exploited a complex currency system, put in place by Chavez. Maduro’s set the official exchange rate
at 10 bolivars per US dollar. But only his friends and allies have access
to this rate. In reality, the venezuelan currency has become
basically worthless. Most Venezuelans get their dollars on the
black market, where the rate is about 12,000 bolivar per dollar. The military, which got complete control of
the food supply from Maduro in 2016, is reportedly profiting off of this currency crisis. They import food at Maduro’s special currency
rate and sell it on the black market for a massive profit. So military generals and political allies,
crisis has offered a lucrative opportunity which has helped Maduro stay in power. But he can’t rely on that support alone… …which brings us back to Maduro’s recent
power grab. The opposition boycotted the vote, but Maduro
held the vote for the new constitutional assembly anyway, and won a majority. “Protests on the streets of Venezuela turned deadly after President Nicolas Maduro declares victory. The violence on Sunday very real The bomb went off near some motorcycle police wounding several. Election day clashes between protesters claiming at least 10 more lives. At least one candidate has been murdered, shot to death. Maduro’s government is trying to create the illusion of public support. Thegovernment claimed about 8 million people,
or 40% of the country, voted. But experts put that number much lower, at
just 3 million people. The international community including Peru,
Canada, Spain, Mexico and Argentina condemned the election. The US imposed financial sanctions on Maduro
and members of his government. But Maduro’s assembly, filled with loyalists,
convened anyway and it swiftly removed attorney general Luisa Ortega, leader of the opposition. Armed groups reportedly arrested several other
opposition leaders too. Whether the group will rewrite the constitution
or postpone the next presidential election remains to be seen. For now, Maduro has unprecedented power over
a country that continues to spiral out of control.

100 thoughts on “The collapse of Venezuela, explained”

  1. For more, don't miss the first episode of Vox Borders: Colombia. Johnny Harris traveled to Cúcuta, a city on the border between Colombia and Venezuela to see how the country is handling a massive wave of refugees fleeing the economic crisis. Watch: https://youtu.be/NU0RqwweuWY

  2. and that’s why you ALWAYS separate the 3 powers.
    The executive power could exercise influence on the judicial power. With that single mistake the country got brought into a dictatorship.
    It’s also absurd how the US president can appoint judges for the Supreme Court.

  3. This is what happens when country turns to communism and hates their rich people's who are the creates wealth in society

  4. Are there large segments of rural Venezuelans who are living in a more traditional, tribal system, and not dependent on the country's currency? I hope so. Can a Venezuelan reply to this?

  5. Venezuela made the enemy of their upper and middle class, aka the only skilled labour they had to keep their country standing up. Rather than waging a war on poverty itself, the Chavez regime waged a war on the brains and pockets of Venezuela, not just on CEO and corporations, but also the skilled working class of lawyers, doctors and engineers… they all suffered due to Chavez's "Robin hood" policies like expropriation and control exchange, he even made squatting legal, so you couldn't even evict tenants who where not paying rent, so basically you ended up paying mortgage for someone else to live in your house.

    It's like if the US decided to wage a war on Silicon Valley and Wall Street, and the entire sector of the population that has something to loose… the american economy will come crashing down. That's what Venezuela did, anyone that had anything, it was stolen from them and given to those who had nothing… after a while those who had anything left, leaving Venezuela only with the poor, the lazy, the uneducated … they basically ran out of other people's money

  6. all governments do this UK is forceably adopting children has contradictory laws giving rights which get ignored all in name of gentrification .etc.foster carersxget £341 0per week lone parents benefits claimants get less than £100,in some cases £190..

  7. Isn't it strange that a promise of a socialist utopia always ends up being a dangerous and destructive dictatorship. It's almost as if a dangerous and destructive dictatorship is a direct result of socialism.

  8. When you help the poor it should bring them out of poverty and make them be able to get on their feet and work, but that never is the case because these programs are never effective therefore is a poor investment

  9. Venezuela isolated itself to prevent US interferance and. Thus far succumbed to it's greedy and corrupt ambition. How can a country do that to it's people, this goes for an outcry for revolution.

  10. People want to put a face on their problems. Maduro didnt cause the problem. A country that applies socialist concenpt on the one industry that is so volatile is susceptible to ups and downs. Socialism isnt the actual cause of this economic situation. I predict if they remove him certain things will get better but not the whole situation.

  11. The issues with socialism in Venezuela is that they’re a one product economy and they ran expensive social programs on this and when the global price for oil went down they lost all gdp
    If you actually understand economics this will make sense.

  12. Dictator: A leader who forced himself on a people who dont want him.

    Authoritarian Leader: A non-elected leader that the people are okay with/want.

    Vox seems to mix up these 2.

  13. Bernie Sanders didn't even write the only two lines that republicans have tried to pin on him, regarding a link between Bernie and support for Venezuela, (1st paragraph of this article):   Quillette.com- The Falsity of the Sanders Venezuela Meme:  These days, the American dream is more apt to be realized in South America, in places such as Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina, where incomes are actually more equal today than they are in the land of Horatio Alger. Who’s the banana republic now?So did Sanders write it? This mystery was resolved with a single email to the Valley News Editorial Board. An editor named Ernie Kohlsaat replied:The Aug. 4, 2011, piece you are referring to, headlined “Close the Gaps: Disparities That Threaten America,” was an editorial, not a news article. It was written by a member of the Valley News Editorial Board and as such reflects the opinion of the newspaper. The version on Sen. Sanders’ website appears to be an accurate rendition of the editorial as published on Page A8 of the Valley News on that date.       So, apparently Bernie only posted the editorial because of the main body of the editorial, which talked about America's economic inequalities, primarily.

  14. My Spanish teacher, ACTUALLY dated the previous president of Venezuela’s son

    That’s an actual true story too, even I don’t believe it, but she had proof 🤷‍♂️

  15. Hey I have an idea everybody. Bernie Sanders has talked about copying the health care systems of the UK, France, Sweden, Japan, Australia ect………what if we pretended he was talking about Venezuela?

  16. Dear Vox . It is difficult to hide the truth . US wants a Saudi-Aramco style system in Venezuela , US wants participation in the management of Coltan mines, wants the control of Natural gas and gold resources… wants rights in the disputed territorial waters, wants , wants wants and wants … wants wants wants …and.. wants

  17. this man, this president of Venezuela should be killed, shot, murdered… no president should have the power to go against the people of the nation. there has to be a law stoping one from getting in to power with these kinda of statics

  18. USA: We have the most freedom in the world and like giving freedom to others
    Also USA: Doesn't help Venezuela

    (Joke, not sure if usa did help or somethin)

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