Venezuelan economy in tailspin


THE LINE TO GET IN — Supermarkets in Venezuela have very long lines because of food shortages due to sharp price increases resulting from inflation. (Daisy Luther)


SUPPLIES RUNNING LOW — A Venezuelan solider stands guard over the food isle in a supermarket. (AFP)

In the past two years things have gone from bad to worse in what may soon be the previous country of Venezuela. In fact, a photographer for Time magazine has said, “Venezuela has become hell.” Indeed, Venezuela has seemed close to hellish in recent memory. With murder rates in its cities reaching a worldwide high and its inflation skyrocketing, things are more than a little grim right now. Reports from the country are shocking, as Venezuelans go without medicine, access to reliable food sources and many more hardships, as reported by Time magazine.

Venezuela has been having troubles for years, yet 2016 has seen a nearly entire collapse of the Venezuelan society. In late May of this year, in an effort to save electricity, which is nearly gone due to a drought that severely damaged Venezuela’s ability to produce hydroelectric energy, the Venezuelan government shut down all government buildings for most of the week. In fact, they remained open for business only two days out of the week according to Time magazine. The government is also restricting water. Families quickly divide up the chores. Nephews get into the shower while others wash the dishes. Brothers wash up in the bathroom, while someone else fills buckets with water for later. Ms. Arleta tells the story of how water arrives just once a week, on Thursdays, to the neighborhood of San Antonio de loss Altos.

But Ms. Arleta says the water is now a brownish color and is making her family sick. Many Venezuelans say they have gotten skin irritations from showering, or from the inability to bathe and wash their sheets and towels.

“Her body is filled with small bubbles and they sting horribly,” Ms. Arleta said of one of her sisters. There are now riots breaking out, not against the government, but rather for food. People are starving in Venezuela. There are those who do not have access to clean water, and whose government barely operates two out of the seven days of the week.
Venezuela has collapsed entirely. Add to that the worst inflation in the modern world. Recently, Venezuela released a 20,000 Bolivar note, which, according to official sources is worth 15 U.S cents, but in actuality is worth around 2 U.S. cents.

Indeed, Venezuelans have taken to carrying around money in bags, rather than wallets, due to the fact that many necessary household items can reach well into the 100,000 Bolivar range. Blame ranges from being placed on the Elite in Venezuela, to economic choices made by the president.
Most economists agree that coupled with falling oil prices, Venezuela’s main export, and a myriad of terrible decisions made by the current government are the causes of this disaster. After it got to a certain point, it spiraled out of control into the ruin it is today.

Venezuela is a stark reminder that despite our world seeming and feeling very stable, we are in fact not too far off an age of civilizations rising and falling. For a country that was stable for a relatively long time to come crashing down in such an incredible manner can be interpreted as a warning for other countries.

Nations all around the globe need to continue fighting to better themselves and end the plight of their people. Venezuela serves as a reminder that stability now does not mean stability always.

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