The Decades Long Crisis Affects Venezuelan Population Severely Venezuelan citizens dig through trash in search of food.

Rain Wille

Since the mid-1990s, Hugo Chavez ex-president of Venezuela, and now Nicolas Maduro the current president of Venezuela, failed their people. The people are lacking humanitarian needs because of the mismanagement and corruption of their government. Without change, people will continue to die. 

The president Hugo Chavez’s mission to make life better for the people failed successfully, after fulfilling his pricy promises, there was not enough left for improvement for the country. So, they tried to print more money which caused hyper-inflation. In the next election, the next guy, Nicolas Maduro, wanted to keep the promises of his predecessor without thinking of the damage it would cause. 

BBC News stated, “From 1999 to his death in 2013, Hugo Chávez was president. When he first became president, he promised to drive down Venezuela’s huge levels of inequality.  While he managed to reduce inequality during his time in power, some of the socialist polices he brought in backfired.” 

It wasn’t always this bad, before Hugo Chavez came into power, Venezuela was one of the richest South American countries due to its abundance of natural resources. But after all the laws and policies, now they buy basic goods and resources from other countries. Their currency, the bolivar, is now almost completely worthless. Now a lot of businesses take USA currency instead.  

Catherine Ellis wrote that “radical poverty reduction programmes known as the ‘Bolivarian missions’. Although these missions expanded social services and cut poverty by 20%, they were very expensive, and Chavez also pursued policies that precipitated a steady decline in Venezuela’s oil production, meaning a decline in available revenue.” 

When Hugo Chavez made poor policies, he was trying to make do on his promises for controlling higher prices; to make food and other goods more affordable. Unfortunately, because of this, businesses weren’t making as much profit and in turn weren’t providing as much to the national economy as they used to. This caused businesses to go bankrupt and people not being able to find food or other necessities anywhere, as a result of all the businesses having to close. 

“Price controls, which were aimed at making basic goods more affordable to the poor, ruined many Venezuelan businesses because they no longer made a profit. With many businesses ceasing halting production, shortages of basic goods and food spread,” BBC News stated. 

Since the economy was trashed, now people must choose what to buy with their limited money and the highest prices that only keep raising. Some abandon their families because they don’t want to watch their children starve to death. Others leave the country in hopes of finding food aid somewhere else. It’s unimaginable to have to choose what to spend your money on as humans need a variety of things to survive. Fortunately, the economy is growing, and the USA is finally allowed to bring aid groups over. 

NBC News reported, “Inside the same pharmacy, Francisco de Castro, 75, is also facing a dilemma: buy one or two boxes of the medicine he needs to treat his high blood pressure.”  

Mobs full of angry, hungry protesters take to the streets only to end up jailed, injured, and sometimes killed. The mobs take their anger out on the shop owners without realizing that their anger should be directed toward the people in power. People are desperate for change, safety, and security for them and their family. Knowing that, it is hard to blame them for doing what they think is the best option for survival.  

According to writer Sibylla Brodzinsky from The Guardian, “Mobs tried to loot several bakeries and delis and another food delivery truck. The unrest soon spread throughout this city of 200,000 just outside the capital, Caracas. Protesters shouted “We want food” as they blocked intersections with burning tyres and clashed with security forces.” 

Mental health has taken a huge hit for the people in Venezuela. As the stress piles on about their families and their own survival, the safety of others is lowering. Desperate times bring about the worst in people; and in this case, it horrifyingly couldn’t have been truer. Violent crime is at an all-time high and most of the violent crimes are because of socioeconomic issues in their country. 

The Guardian states, “The lynching and looting are manifestations of anger and impotence that clinical psychologist Liliana Castiglione is seeing in her practice where 80% her patients’ problems are related to the country’s economic and social crisis.”  

Retaining hope is the best thing possible that the Venezuelan people can do. Many countries such as Costa Rica, United States, Canada, Australia, and more, stand by a new candidate who wishes to make Venezuela prosperous again. The people of Venezuela deserve to live a normal life without worrying about they are going to get their next meal.  

According to Elliot Abrams, U.S. Special Representative for Venezuela, “We are certain we will see again a Venezuela that is democratic, prosperous, and reconnected to the world.”