Economic Downturn Spurs Violence in Venezuela


The country of Venezuela is home to over 30 million people and a vast agricultural land that was once used to fund the countries economy. Some of this agriculture includes materials such as iron ore, gold, and heaping quantities of coal. It has also been said that Venezuela has been proven to be one of the world’s largest deposits for oil extracts, ranking 5th amongst its global competitors. But despite Venezuela’s enriched agricultural resources many of the population still reside in poverty. It has been reported that over 60% of the country’s households are poor.

Amongst the many problems that the country faces, they are most recently concerned with the presidential leadership of the state. This is because the acting Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro, currently holds a nation-wide approval rating of only 22%. He was originally Vice President, until 2013. The former President, Hugo Chavez, died due to cancer just days shy of his re-election campaign. Although Madura was President Chavez’s preferred successor, he only won by very slim margins in the federal elections.

The opposing parties of the current President also hold a negative perspective of the state leader. They often describe him as being very ruthless in his manner and has regularly arrested and pressed charges against his political advisories. In the winter of 2014, Maduro’s government had accumulated sanctions from the United States and criticism from Human Rights Groups due to the 3,000 arrests, 873 injuries and 43 deaths that occurred during civilian protests. The country was under riot and protest for much of early 2014 due to high levels of violence within the country and the speculation of police force authorities. They also demonstrated their frustrations for their basic needs to be met as the country has failed to fundamentally do so.

Since Maduro has taken office the country has experienced a heavy incline of murder throughout the nation. It has been determined that the murder rate in Venezuela has increased by more than 10% since Maduro’s term. Within the first two months of 2014 around 3,000 people were killed. And in Venezuela’s most current situation, a person is murdered every 21 minutes, most times as a result of heightened poverty or government and administrative corruption.

The Venezuelan people have also expressed their need for their society to be operated without government coercion. Price controls instilled by President Maduro’s government severely disabled private businesses to operate as an efficient diety, ultimately resulting in their closure. The economic downturn then led to shortages of the Venezuela’s most fundamental resources i.e. things like toilet paper, milk and flour.

Data collected by CIA databases ranked Venezuela as having the highest inflation rates in the world at a staggering 56%. They only fall short to the war-struck economy of Syria. Even the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts that the Venezuelan economy will continue to struggle, stating “loose macroeconomic policies have generated high inflation and a drain on official foreign exchange reserves”. In essence, the economic policies that have been utilized by Maduro has depleted the country of many of it’s essential resources. This has been done to the extent that the country is currently unable to rely on international import exchanges to generate profit to purchase basic necessities. Steve H. Hanke claims that as a result of state controlled prices it has caused more than a 25% product scarcity amongst it’s population.

From a personal perspective I am interested to see how things pan out in Venezuela because if there’s one thing I am certain of it is that the country will not stand in it’s current state. I say this chiefly in criticism of the Presidential government and the employees of the civil service. It seems to be a case of the blind leading the blind. Or in this case, the corrupt educing the hungry. The lack of leadership has now trickled down to the general public to the extreme instance that they must literally rob and kill to secure their survival. In 2015, you would assume that mankind would have evolved from its most primal state. But as a solution, I feel that the international community should be pre-emptive in our mechanisms of assistance. We should be adamant about holding the Venezuelan government accountable about the alarming death rates in the country, the lack of basic necessities and poor economical methods. I feel that if we tend to the matters of the latter two it would ultimately solve the murderous problems that the region has been plagued with. I find it would be better to act proactively on solving these matters than to react defensively to a national mass murder and famine.