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Venezuela — the Next Crisis

June 30, 2016
Plain English Version
Venezuelean security forces clash with citizens protesting against the severe food and medicine shortages, in Caracas, Venezuela. RONALDO SCHEMIDT/AFP/Getty Images

Security forces clash with citizens protesting against the severe food and medicine shortages, in Caracas, Venezuela. RONALDO SCHEMIDT/AFP/Getty Images.

It does not take a terrorist to create terror. Hunger can do that as well. Venezuela has one of the largest reserves of oil on the planet. It does not have food.

How did this happen? Venezuela is a big country. It has huge farms and ranches. It has the entire infrastructure it needs to process food. It has a system of getting food to stores.

So why are people attacking food trucks and looting supermarkets?

No one knows for sure. The government says the food shortage is deliberate. It is the act of foreign and domestic “enemies.”

Here is what most people think. The president, Hugo Chávez, was a charismatic leader. He wanted to emulate Fidel Castro. He spent the country’s oil money and also borrowed money to help the poor. He died three years ago. His successor was Nicolas Maduro. He did not have the same appeal as Chávez. Then oil prices dropped.

Chávez weakened the middle class. He became authoritarian. He made life hard for those who opposed him. When he died, Maduro could not find a way to make life better. This year, the opposition took control of the National Assembly. President Maduro is using the courts and all his power to block any reforms.

The nation is falling apart. The government took over much of the food industry. Now there is no food. The government does not have money to pay workers or buy supplies. It is going broke.

There is a drive to recall the president. The U.S. and other nations in South America are trying to find a way to help solve the crisis.

Will there be a popular uprising? People are taking to the streets. The police and armed forces are trying to keep order.

The revolution of Chávez has come to an end. Chaos may be ahead.

Source: The Washington Post June 28, 2016

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