A nation rolling in natural resources such oil, gold, diamonds, and other minerals, Venezuela faces an intense crisis with a scarcity of food, medicines, and electricity. Political unrest scourges the land as Venezuelans protest their government and make demands to their leaders for their basic needs.
Winning the election in 1998, Hugo Chávez claimed he would give power to the people and end the corruption of the traditional political parties. Instead, he employed his new-found power and popularity to rewrite the constitution to perpetuate his government. Chávez created a new National Assembly, nationalized thousands of private companies, and sought control over the executive, legislative, judicial branches, and the military. At his death, his successor and vice-president Nicolás Maduro was elected to power for the next six years.
Thanks to Chávez’s legacy, Maduro held control over the Supreme Court of Justice and the Armed Forces. President Maduro aimed at fighting economic crisis, but hundreds of thousands of people took part in a protest to remove President Maduro, accusing him of responsibility for the economic crisis. Maduro stabilized the protests and economic crisis. In the face of an upcoming election, Maduro rescheduled the original electoral date from December 2018 to May 20th, 2018. The irregularities of the electoral schedule led to the lowest voter turnout in the country’s democratic era and Nicolás Maduro’s return to power.
Soon after the election, the world powers of the European Union, Australia, Canada, and the United States rejected the electoral process as illegitimate and refused to recognize Nicolás Maduro as President of Venezuela. Nevertheless, Nicolás Maduro was inaugurated on January 10th, 2019. In the days thereafter, the United States, Canada, and a number of Latin American countries recognized National Assembly Speaker Juan Guaidó as the legitimate Venezuelan President.
As Venezuela tumbles into a humanitarian crisis, Juan Guaidó begs for the support of the people, military, and world powers. Since Venezuela’s drop into crisis, three million people have left the country, children have been going hungry, and nearly every hospital is experiencing medicine shortages. Although Guaidó sought aid from the United States government, President Nicolás Maduro says the aid is part of a U.S. plot to disguise an invasion of Venezuela. The American humanitarian aid that arrived at the Colombian border to Venezuela was blocked on the roads with oil tankers. With Maduro and his administration claiming that the aid currently waiting at the border is contaminated with carcinogens, the Venezuelans have received no relief.
In a rare interview with the media, Maduro claimed that “The extremists of the White House have taken it upon themselves to carry out a coup in Venezuela.” However, while Maduro appears to have the support of most of the army, an active-duty Venezuelan colonel claimed that 90% of the army was against the president.
Lately, President Donald Trump announced his intent to ramp up the public pressure against the regime of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. He aims to oust Maduro through U.S.-led sanctions and diplomatic maneuvers. Trump previously seized the deteriorating situation in Venezuela to warn voters that Democratic policies will turn the U.S. into Venezuela.
Despite the continued pressure from world powers and the Venezuelan people, President Maduro staunchly defends his government and power. Venezuela is placing their last hope on Juan Guadó. According Romer Sánchez, a Venezuelan policeman now seeking political asylum in Spain, “This is Venezuela’s last train.”
Despite a national wealth of natural resources like oil, gold, diamonds, and minerals, Venezuela has tumbled into a humanitarian crisis; even its President fails to acknowledge its dire need. The mounting crisis leaves the Venezuelans in a sticky situation: either flee their homeland or remain in poverty.