We weep for Venezuela

Friday, August 03, 2018

Print this page Email A Friend!

We took no pleasure in publishing the Agence France Presse (AFP) report on Wednesday of Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro admitting that his economic model has “failed”. For what that admission has reinforced is the fact that the Venezuelan people are undergoing severe hardships under an Administration that has mismanaged the economy of this oil-rich country.

Mr Maduro's admission of failure came amidst food and medicine shortages and public service paralysis, such as a power failure that affected 80 per cent of the capital city on Monday.

It's no secret. Venezuela is grappling with chronic inflation that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted would reach one million per cent this year, and its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would plummet 18 per cent this year — a fourth-consecutive year of double-digit depreciation.

An indication of the severity of the economic situation in the country can be seen in reports this week that the price of a dozen eggs was just over 2.6 million bolívares, or equal to two weeks' minimum wage. Last week, President Maduro announced “new economic measures”, including eliminating five zeros from the bolívar.

Mr Maduro has consistently blamed “foreign empires”, particularly the US — which has imposed financial sanctions against him and top Government officials — for Venezuela's economic woes. However, economists have stated that the source of the country's problems is its socialist policies that began under Mr Maduro's late predecessor, President Hugo Chávez, in the 1990s.

The AFP report tells us that oil production has crashed from a high of 3.2 million barrels a day in 2008 to a 30-year low of 1.5 million this year. In response, President Maduro has revealed that his economic recovery plan includes increasing oil production to “six million barrels a day by 2025 or before”.

However, this week he told a congress of his ruling Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela: “The production models we've tried so far have failed and the responsibility is ours, mine and yours.”

“Enough with the whining,” he added. “We need to produce with or without (outside) aggression, with or without blockades, we need to make Venezuela an economic power. No more whining, I want solutions, Comrades!”

While Mr Maduro has significant support in the country, we suspect he will have a hard time inspiring the entire nation to work at a recovery. For not only is the economic climate extremely dire, but he has created many enemies by imprisoning opponents and introducing legislation to allow him to rule like a dictator.

A year ago, he organised a controversial election to create a constituent assembly to format a new constitution, even though he had always praised the 1999 constitution drafted and passed by President Chávez.

His opponents have said that the assembly was really an avenue for him to by-pass the Opposition-controlled Congress and thus tighten his grip on power.

As it now stands, Mr Maduro has isolated Venezuela from many of its allies in this region and the country is experiencing a brain drain, as the middle-class Venezuelans are leaving, mostly for Spain and America, and many from the lower-income bracket are crossing the borders into Brazil and Colombia.

Venezuela is a country in need of a political solution — one which upholds the tenets of democracy. Until then, we weep for the people of this country with which Jamaica has enjoyed good relations over many years.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaperlive




1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus



Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon