Protests that shook up the Venezuelan capital over the weekend are the current signs of a simmering crisis that’s threatening to boil over in the South American country.
Rival factions of pro- and anti-government activists took to the streets of Caracas, a day following President Nicolas Maduro announced a “constitutional state of emergency.”
Maduro stated his emergency declaration directed “to tend to our country and, more importantly, to prepare to denounce, neutralize and overcome the external and foreign aggressions against our country.”
He has also requested military exercises to be held next weekend to get ready for “any scenario,” which includes a foreign invasion.
But while some marched in support of the government’s push for a “state of constitutional exception and economic emergency,” which is anticipated to stretch into July, not all are as patient.
Power shortages have deepened (and this in an oil rich country!); food is becoming scarce (some folks have resorted to eating dogs and cats); folks lie on concrete slabs in hospitals without medicine (if you assumed medical care was bad, just wait until it’s free!); and riots and looting are growing rather more serious.
Now you see the end stages of socialism, complete with hyperinflation. Now you see where Europe and the U.S. are going.
In hindsight, it was alarming to see how few folks in Venezuela comprehended what was going on. You’d think in this day and age, they’d just watch a few Youtube videos (like some of ours) and understand the reality: Almost all their problems are a direct consequence of government and central banking.
However, barely anyone understood. Your average individual was miserable, that was for sure. But they didn’t understand what was causing their distress.
I didn’t find much interest in gold and silver, let alone much buying, even though it was clearly a good idea. And, forget bitcoin. No one understood what it was… except for the government that incredibly has banned it.
Bizarrely, large portions of Caracas still hang photographs of Hugo Chavez and still think about him to be a hero!
I met a few folks who were open to rational conversations. They were making about about $20 a month and could barely make it.
“Why don’t you go somewhere else?” I questioned them. “Colombia is close. And Trinidad & Tobago, Aruba, Argentina or Chile. All with economies that are functioning and oftentimes doing very well.”
The general reaction was, “I don’t know anyone there.”
Very odd. Why choose to live in squalor and desperation just because the environment is comfortable to you?
This is a mentality I often observe in America. Elsewhere, as well. Stressed, folks have a tendency to live like serfs, never going far from their birthplace.
It’s really not needed in this era of the internet. Spend five minutes on Facebook and you know some folks.
Anti-government demonstrators incriminate Maduro of clinging to power as his country crumbles.
Folks throughout the country lack accessibility to food and basic healthcare.
From time to time, they can’t even turn on the lights — the government claims extreme drought has affected the country’s hydroelectric capabilities.
There are product shortages; there is impetuous inflation that has annihilated salaries; and there is widespread violent crime.
All of this is leading to widespread anger — concluding in the sort of protests observed over the weekend, as well as the outbursts of looting and violence that are marring this once-stable nation.
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