UNITED NATIONS — It didn’t have to be this way. An oil rich, economically prosperous middle class country, once a stable Latin American democracy, is disintegrating into a socialist dystopia plagued by hunger, corruption, hyper-inflation and churning political unrest.
While petroleum remains Venezuela’s major export, now tragically it’s the people too who are fleeing this twice California sized country.
Although there’s general awareness of Venezuela’s dire economic situation and dizzying rates of hyper-inflation, there’s less knowledge concerning the short term consequences; a collapse of the middle class and a growing hopelessness among the poor.
While richer Venezuelans have already left for the USA or Brazil, those fleeing now are streaming across the land borders with Columbia and Brazil at rates of 5,000 daily.
More than two million refugees have fled Venezuela’s chaos and uncertainty in the past few years. A million have gone to neighboring Columbia and many to Brazil, Peru and Ecuador. This year alone, 500,000 have entered Ecuador.
According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), one of the largest population movements in Latin American history is now under way from Venezuela.
Just weeks ago, U.S. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley warned “Venezuela was once a wealthy country. It has vast natural resources. Something is very wrong when citizens of an oil rich country have to leave in order to beg on Colombian streets to feed their children. That something is the corruption of the Maduro regime. This is a man-made crisis. Period.”
She added that the roots of the crisis go back to the days of deceased dictator Hugo Chavez and his Cuban-backed revolution. “Hugo Chavez’s perverse vision of a socialist paradise in Venezuela has transformed into a criminal narco-state that is robbing the Venezuelan people blind.”
Transparency International which track global corruption trends ranks Venezuela 166 out of 176 comparators!
Venezuela’s leader Nicolas Maduro told the UN General Assembly “The Oligarchies of the continent, and those who rule them from Washington, want political control of Venezuela.” His speech followed a press conference a day earlier when his Foreign Minister launched a tirade against the Monroe Doctrine and the Trump Administration for trying to control Venezuela.
Viewing the deteriorating human rights situation in Venezuela, five Latin American countries, Argentina, Chile, Columbia, Paraguay, Peru as well as Canada asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to consider actions against top Caracas government officials for extensive human rights abuses. Significantly this is the first time state parties to the ICC have referred another member to the court.
The Venezuelan crisis is creating both dangerous domestic discord and regional instability.
A refugee tsunami may destabilize neighboring countries in Latin America as well as spill over into the United States as the situation become ever more unpredictable.
Full article: ‘Man-made crisis’: Venezuelan hell destabilizes region (World Tribune)