The Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders

A crippled nation: Venezuela’s political nation and economic turmoil

in Beyond Our Walls by

Venezuela has been in state of crisis since April 2017. The country has been ravaged with civilian anti-government protests, which have been responded to violently by the Venezuelan military, resulting in many deaths.

Currently, President Nicolas Maduro and his United Socialist Party (PSUV) are the executive power. He succeeded the late Hugo Chavez, under whom the nation experienced major economic growth and decreased poverty.

However, 95% of Venezuela’s export revenues come from oil, and the price of oil has dropped drastically in recent years. The lack of this money has forced the Venezuelan government to drop most of its social programs meant to support civilians in need. In turn, the improvements made during Chavez’s presidency for the public have reversed under Maduro and has plummeted Venezuelans into food shortages, widespread blackouts, vital medicine shortages, rising violent crime rates and unemployment, and even resurgences of previously extinguished diseases like malaria.

Because of the fallen economy, the money needed to produce different crops and foods has become more than profit made by those producers, and is thus leading to further food shortages as less supply is being brought to supermarkets and government-subsidized food markets. In fact, the number of malnourished Venezuelans has grown exponentially under the presidency of Maduro to the point where it has been coined “The Maduro Diet.”

The group Chavistas continue to support Maduro and his continuation of Chavez’s policies in spite of these recent issues, and are counteracting against the anti-government groups that are gaining across Venezuela. The anti-government groups blame Maduro’s presidency to be the cause of the degradation of democracy and economic instability that cripples the country and it’s inhabitants.

Their anger has further been upset by the United States Supreme Court’s recent rulings. Maduro is widely seen as a pawn of the United States, and this seemed to be proved by the Supreme Court’s recent ruling to transfer all of Venezuela’s legislative powers to itself, thus giving the PSUV control of the two remaining branches of government. The ruling was cancelled three days later, but by then it was already believed by many Venezuelans to be a coup.

In protesting, the people hope to open a humanitarian channel to be able to import medicine that they badly need, to remove of the Supreme Court justices that gave the previously stated ruling, and the ability to hold early presidential elections in 2017 or 2018.

Maduro denounces this, and says that they wish to illegally take him out of office. He refuses to let an early election take place thus far. In an attempt to appease the people, he has opened a constituent assembly, in hoping that editing a new constitution will promote peace in this time of political and social conflict.

Sammie Seamon is a freshman at ARS, and she’s excited for her first year of being on the Polaris Press staff. She is an avid reader, lover of lattés, overly competitive runner, amateur seamstress, and fierce protector of helpless animals. She is ready to take on the responsibility of being a newspaper reporter, and is eager to see where the Polaris Press will go this year!

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