Evolving crisis fuels anxiety among Venezuelans who want a better economy but see worsening woes

by Gabriel Martinez
Venezuelan Crisis

The escalating crisis in Venezuela is causing growing anxiety among its citizens, who are yearning for a better economy but continue to witness deteriorating conditions. In the rural community of San Joaquin, retirees like Jose Hernandez rely on avocados from nearby trees to make ends meet. They sell these avocados to passing motorists or in the nearby city of Valencia to supplement their meager pensions, which currently amount to just $3.70 a month, barely enough to cover basic necessities.

The roots of Venezuela’s political, social, and economic crisis trace back to a decade ago when a combination of factors, including a global drop in oil prices, mismanagement by the socialist administration, and government repression, began to take a toll. The situation worsened after a brief period of economic stability in 2021 and 2022, leading to skyrocketing food prices, business closures, and a renewed desire among many to leave the country.

Amid this grim reality, Venezuelans are hearing discussions about upcoming elections, as the opposition prepares for a primary on October 22 to select a candidate to challenge President Nicolás Maduro in the next presidential election. However, disillusionment and frustration with politics and politicians, regardless of their affiliation, have deepened among both young and old due to a series of disappointments, corruption allegations, misinformation, and government repression.

In 2021, Maduro’s government managed to briefly stabilize Venezuela’s hyperinflation by implementing public spending cuts, tax increases, and foreign currency injections. This led to a temporary respite, with some Venezuelans even returning from neighboring countries where they had sought refuge during the crisis. However, this stability was short-lived, and by January, the economic situation had deteriorated once again. The minimum wage stagnated, and basic necessities like chicken, eggs, and milk became prohibitively expensive.

The situation has become dire, with people struggling to afford both food and medicine. The exodus from Venezuela has resumed, with an increasing number of people now eyeing the United States as their destination. Over the past year, the number of Venezuelan migrants attempting to enter the U.S. through its southern border has surged, highlighting the severity of the crisis.

For Venezuelans, the crisis feels like an unending series of hardships, with each year marked by its own unique challenges. Worries are mounting as these difficulties converge, even affecting the capital, Caracas, which was previously somewhat insulated from some of the crisis’s worst effects.

The shelves in supermarkets and neighborhood markets are shrinking, restaurants are closing, and power outages are becoming more frequent. Despite political affiliations, many Venezuelans long for the days of Hugo Chávez and his socialist revolution, viewing themselves as pawns in a geopolitical game that neglects their dire economic circumstances.

A recent 12-hour period exemplifies this growing sentiment, with shifting government actions and political developments adding to the uncertainty faced by Venezuelans. While there is a desire for political change, the immediate concern remains the economic hardship that plagues their daily lives. As Vanessa Martinez, a maintenance worker in Venezuela, aptly puts it, “The situation is very sad. Who knows when we’ll see a change.”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Venezuelan Crisis

What has caused the ongoing crisis in Venezuela?

The crisis in Venezuela has been driven by a combination of factors, including a global drop in oil prices, mismanagement by the socialist administration, and government repression of its opponents. These factors have contributed to a decade-long deterioration in the country’s political, social, and economic stability.

How did Venezuela experience a brief period of economic stability in 2021 and 2022?

Venezuela experienced a temporary respite in 2021 and 2022 when the government, led by President Nicolás Maduro, managed to stabilize the hyperinflation by implementing measures such as public spending cuts, tax increases, and foreign currency injections. This led to a short-lived period of relative economic stability.

Why are Venezuelans struggling with constant food-price hikes and business closures?

Despite the brief economic stability, Venezuela has once again plunged into economic turmoil, characterized by constant food-price hikes and business closures. The minimum wage has stagnated, and the cost of basic necessities like chicken, eggs, and milk has become prohibitively expensive, leaving many Venezuelans struggling to make ends meet.

What is the current situation regarding Venezuelan migration?

Venezuelan migration has not abated, and more than 7.7 million Venezuelans have fled their country, primarily to Latin American and Caribbean nations. However, there is a notable shift as people are now increasingly looking to migrate to the United States rather than neighboring countries.

How have U.S. economic sanctions affected Venezuela’s crisis?

While U.S. economic sanctions were imposed with the aim of pressuring the Venezuelan government, they have not succeeded in toppling President Maduro. The sanctions have had complex consequences, with some arguing that they have contributed to the economic hardships faced by ordinary Venezuelans.

What is the prevailing sentiment among Venezuelans toward their political leaders?

Apathy and disillusionment toward political leaders, whether aligned with Maduro’s government or the opposition, have deepened among both young and old Venezuelans. Corruption allegations, misinformation, and government repression have eroded trust in the political establishment.

How are ordinary Venezuelans coping with the crisis?

Many ordinary Venezuelans are struggling to afford basic necessities like food and medicine. Some have resorted to bartering, while others face challenges accessing essential healthcare. The situation has become increasingly dire, with a growing sense of uncertainty about when and how it might improve.

More about Venezuelan Crisis

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Reader123 October 14, 2023 - 9:57 am

dis cri sis in veneswela’s been goin on 4 ages now. oil pric drop, gov mismanagemnt, and stuff. econmics up n down, no food, it’s hard. ppl want 2 leave.

NewsJunkie55 October 14, 2023 - 1:36 pm

wow, Venezuela had sum stability 4 a bit in 2021-22, but now it’s back 2 price hikes and no jobs. thas ruff!

HopefulOne October 14, 2023 - 2:59 pm

gosh, min wage $3.70, eggs $2.25? thas crazzy! how r ppl survivin? meds r costly too.

Wanderer7 October 14, 2023 - 5:01 pm

migration’s still goin on, but now it’s U.S. they’re eyein. lots more ppl tryin 2 cross the border. thas a big change!

Struggler_21 October 14, 2023 - 8:14 pm

barterin 4 food? that’s what it’s come 2. this situation’s just sad, no end in sight.

CuriousMind October 14, 2023 - 10:11 pm

i heard U.S. sanctions not workin like they sposed 2. gov’s still there. sancshuns hurtin the ppl more?

RealityCheck October 15, 2023 - 3:23 am

trust in poltics is down the drain. corruption, lies, repression. no wonder ppl r fed up.


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