What happened to Venezuela?

By Celine Grajo
October 10, 2017

For the past two years, news of the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela has rotated daily on US screens. Food, water, and medicine shortages have left Venezuelans fending a war between life and death, with inflation rates having risen to a historic 536 percent, according to the opposition-led National Assembly this past Friday. This is largely due to the black market’s cheapening of local currency, Venezuela’s drastically low oil prices and international debt of $100 billion, and President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist and self-serving regime. The prices of goods are devastating, and most healthcare centers and hospitals have been abandoned due to the scarcity of medical necessities and hygienic machines, such as antibiotics, anesthesia, intravenous solutions, respiratory pumps, and cancer radiation treatments. In this panic, violence and crime has made Caracas the most dangerous city in the world in terms of homicides and violent attacks.

While the US election was underway, President Trump kept a pressure on Maduro’s reign, to the appeasement of both Democrats and Republicans who wanted to see a change in Venezuela’s failing economy. Aides have reported that during talks between Latin-American countries and the United States, President Trump has repeatedly asked “What are we going to do about Venezuela?” But what of the Presidential tweets this August, stating “military option” could very soon be threatened? With a travel ban on select Venezuelan government officials to the United States and strict new sanctions from previous allies, Maduro and company are now scrambling to slash inappropriate government spending and amend their economy for their own self-preservation.

In order to apply a successful regime change, there must first be a carefully fleshed-out replacement. Power must be re-balanced, and democracy reborn. To avoid any further bloodshot, there needs to be an understanding and resolution of the actions and consequences that have led up to this point. But with diplomatic ties severed in 2008, the US and Venezuela need to mend their relationship – as far as egos will allow – before progress begins. Then, and only then, can the lives of 31 million people ever truly be safe again.

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