Venezuela is in crisis. On the verge of economic collapse, riots proliferate in the streets along with demands for an end to the populist, authoritarian government.
Much of this anger is directed at President Nicolas Maduro — since his arrival to office inpoverty rates in Venezuela have increased dramatically.
Many struggle to provide for their families as food and medicine become scarce. Below are the top 10 facts about poverty in Venezuela that are essential to know. Poverty has encapsulated the nation with seemingly no end in sight. These top 10 facts about poverty in Venezuela aim to provide a comprehensive understanding of the crisis in Venezuela and how it affects everything from inflation, to food and medicine.A bus ride through crisis-hit Caracas - BBC News
Although the Venezuelan government still refuses to accept foreign aid, supporting local organizations in Venezuela allows for humanitarian aid to be distributed in poverty-stricken areas. As for the future, many Venezuelans envision only two possible directions: either Maduro leaves, or they do.
Photo: Flickr. Blog - Latest News. Nearly 90 percent of Venezuelans live in poverty. According to estimates by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, this is a dramatic increase from when 48 percent of Venezuelans lived in poverty. In an attempt to stifle economic outrage, the Venezuelan government ceased publication of poverty statistics in It is now the responsibility of universities and sociologists to report on the current state of Venezuela and provide alternative sources of information.
It would be the highest rate of poverty since statistic tracking began in Oil industries in Venezuela are crumbling. Since then, production of crude oil in Venezuela has dropped heavily. Global Data, a digital media company, has predicted that by the end ofVenezuelan crude oil production would drop by one million barrels a day. Government corruption is deeply rooted.
Despite months of protests, Maduro has recently cemented his power by replacing an opposition-controlled legislative branch of the government with loyalists.
Since then, thousands of Venezuelans responsible for running the large oil exports have been fired or arrested in an act of power consolidation for Maduro. In an attempt to control inflation, the minimum wage in Venezuela was recently raised 58 percent. Yaimy Flores, a Caracas housewife, struggles to provide basic necessities for her family.
Much of the food they eat is dispersed from government programs and hygiene products are rationed. Despite working long hours in dire conditions, Venezuelans are barely scraping by on the minimum wage under heavy economic inflation.
According to a recent survey, over two-thirds of Venezuelans report losing an average of 25 pounds in the last year and Medicine is running out. Due to the poor economy, Venezuela is experiencing a severe medicine shortage and hospitals are struggling to stay open. The Pharmaceutical Federation of Venezuela estimates the country is experiencing an 85 percent shortage of medicine. This has forced many Venezuelans to seek medication, often expired or unaffordable, on the black market.
Meanwhile, President Maduro continues to refuse foreign humanitarian aid, blocking pharmaceutical shipments from entering the country. Iron-rich foods, such as maize and vegetables, have been nearly eliminated from the Venezuelan diet, and programs like CLAP — a government subsidized food box platform — fail to end the hunger.
Initially, these packages included products like eggs, chicken and pasta and were distributed in poverty-stricken neighborhoods. Venezuelans are fleeing the country. Many Venezuelans report they no longer feel safe in their home country and have lost hope in government officials.
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Price inflation is out of control in Venezuela.Despite housing the largest oil reserves in the world, Venezuela is experiencing crippling and widespread poverty.
The causes of poverty in Venezuela are atypical from other developing countries. The nation has an abundance of natural resources, and, in the s, it had the fourth-highest GDP per capita in the world. For much of its history, the country has occupied a coveted position as the strongest economy in Latin America. Despite frequent political instability—as recently as poverty was in declinewith the economy riding high off oil profits where the price of a barrel was in the triple digits.
Fast-forward to 81 percent of Venezuelans live below the poverty line, largely as a result of the economic collapse. The most severe symptoms of the new Venezuelan economy are ones that make it difficult for the average citizen to simply exist, let alone thrive. Food is either scarce or astronomically expensiveand hospitals are chronically understaffed and have to endure subpar equipment.
Schools are increasingly characterized by the need to feed children who arrive hungry and have brought nothing to eat. Corruption is endemic in Venezuelan politics and enormous oil profits are often siphoned off into private hands. Transparency International identifies Venezuela as the ninth most corrupt country in the world, by far the highest in the Latin America region. Government intervention to address the crisis has also often backfired.
An attempt to introduce price controls on foodstuffs led to imports disappearing almost entirely, and for months most Venezuelans were unable to acquire basic items such as milk, eggs and flour. Inflation is expected to rise to percent in Over the course of the past year, the average Venezuelan has dropped 19 pounds in weight.
A combination of infrastructure investment and expansion of social services allowed millions of Venezuelans to be lifted above the poverty line.
Venezuela: The Rise and Fall of a Petrostate
However, this model of poverty alleviation was flawed due to its dependence on a single resource. Following a decline in oil prices, the country now faces even greater challenges than before. A major fiscal overhaul is the best bet for the millions of Venezuelans who urgently need access to food and medicine.
In the long term, a redirection of the economy away from oil towards privately owned farms could stimulate a self-sufficient food market. If this was achieved, the kind of shortages that plague Venezuela in would be unlikely to occur again.
Perhaps then, some of the current causes of poverty in Venezuela can be overcome and the nation can begin to rebuild towards its former status as one of the wealthiest in the world. Photo: Flickr. Blog - Latest News.It is marked by hyperinflationescalating starvation disease, crime and mortality rates, resulting in massive emigration from the country. The crisis has affected the life of the average Venezuelan on all levels. Increasing oil prices in the early s led to levels of funds not seen in Venezuela since the s.
Nonetheless, poverty was cut more than 20 percent between and Venezuela's economy faltered while poverty  inflation  and shortages in Venezuela increased. Maduro has blamed capitalist speculation for driving high rates of inflation and creating widespread shortages of basic necessities. He has said he is fighting an "economic war", referring to newly enacted economic measures as "economic offensives" against political opponents, who he and loyalists state are behind an international economic conspiracy.
Maduro has long used food and other government handouts to pressure impoverished Venezuelans to attend pro-government rallies and to support him during elections as the country's economic meltdown has intensified.
Maduro disavowed the National Assembly in leading to the Venezuelan constitutional crisis ;   as ofsome considered the National Assembly the only "legitimate" institution left in the country, [c] and human rights organizations said there were no independent institutional checks on presidential power.
During the protests, the Mother of all Protests involved between 2. The members of the Constituent Assembly would not be elected in open elections, but selected from social organizations loyal to Maduro.
The ANC was sworn in on 4 August and the next day declared itself to be the government branch with supreme power in Venezuela, banning the opposition-led National Assembly from performing actions that would interfere with the assembly while continuing to pass measures in "support and solidarity" with President Maduro, effectively stripping the National Assembly of all its powers. In FebruaryMaduro called for presidential elections four months before the prescribed date.
Corruption is high in Venezuela according to the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index and is prevalent at many levels of society. The Wall Street Journal reported in March that poverty was double that of With a "diminished food supply", Maduro put "generals in charge of everything from butter to rice".
Poverty Rates In Venezuela: Getting The Numbers Right
The government imports most of the food the country needs, it is controlled by the military, and the price paid for food is higher than justified by market prices. Venezuelans were spending "all day waiting in lines" to buy rationed food, "pediatric wards filled up with underweight children, and formerly middle-class adults began picking through rubbish bins for scraps", according to Al Jazeera.
Several other factors have led to shortages: imports over the two years until the end of declined by two-thirds; hyperinflation has made food too costly for many Venezuelans; and for those who depend on food boxes supplied by the government, "these do not reach all Venezuelans who need them, provision of boxes is intermittent, and receipt is often linked to political support of the government".
Corruption became a problem in the distribution of food. The operations director at one food import business, says "he pays off a long roster of military officials for each shipment of food he brings in from It's an unbroken chain of bribery from when your ship comes in until the food is driven out in trucks.
The colectivos are also involved in food trafficking, selling food on the black market; a colectivo leader told InSight Crime that trafficking food and medicine is as profitable as drug-running, but carries less risk.These statements have only rarely been contested or corrected. This paper looks at the available data on poverty in Venezuela, which show a reduction in poverty sinceas well as related economic data. The paper also briefly notes how some of the mistakes surrounding the discussion of this issue have been made.
Finally, we also look at the impact of the provision of health care to the poor, which has been greatly expanded over the last few years. Table 1 shows the number of Venezuelan households and people living in poverty from toat half-year intervals. The household poverty rate declined sharply from It continued to decline, as the economy slowed to a standstill inand reached There was some further decline in the poverty rate to 39 percent in But in poverty began to rise, surging to a peak of This was driven overwhelmingly by the oil strike December — Februarywhich crippled the economy and caused a sharp downturn.
Capital flight and political instability prior to the oil strike, including an unsuccessful military coup in April ofalso contributed to a severe recession that saw GDP decline by The economy then began to recover and grew very rapidly— As a result of this recovery, the poverty rate dropped to Thus if we compare the latest available data to the start of the present government, the household poverty rate fell nearly 5 percentage points — from The household poverty rate was thus reduced by Measuring individuals instead of households, the poverty rate decreased by 6.
That was a Since the economy has continued to grow rapidly this year first quarter growth came in at 9. How then have so many people reached a different conclusion? The most common mistake has been to use the data from the first half ofwhich was gathered in the first quarter of that year.Venezuela was once the wealthiest country in South Americabut in recent years millions have fled the country amid mass starvation and violence after socialist policies were enacted and government seized private industries.
More than people were killed in fighting, but his coup was defeated. However, in the name of national unity, the government released Chavez from prison after just two years. Chavez made many positive statements about socialism after his release from prison. I hope I will deserve it one day We are committed to the revolutionary work. Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro walks past a painting of his predecessor, late President Hugo Chavez, inside the chambers of the Constitutional Assembly where he will give his annual address to the nation in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, Jan.
Four years after that, Chavez ran for the Venezuelan Presidency. During his run, he downplayed his previous radicalism — telling people that he was ''neither for savage capitalism, nor socialism, nor Communism''. Instead, he claimed to support a "third way" -- a balance between socialism and capitalism. Chavez won the election. Maria Teresa Romero, a Venezuelan who fled to the U. News reports from when Chavez won the Presidency in state that some Venezuelans sent their valuable property to Miami to protect it from potential confiscation.
Anti-government protesters cheer after Juan Guaido, head of Venezuela's opposition-run congress, declares himself interim president of the South American country until new elections can be called, at a rally demanding the resignation of President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, Jan. But in the short run, their property was safe. Chavez didn't implement many socialist policies immediately.
His first priority was instead to re-write the Constitution. Chart looks at Venezuela's oil production and inflation. The basic structure of both the old and new constitutions followed the U.
Only once Chavez had control of the courts and the legislature did he begin to fully advance socialist policies. InChavez ran for election on an overtly socialist platform, and soon after he won, he began major seizures privately-owned property. Thousands of private businesses were nationalized — including media outlets, oil and power companies, mines, farms, banks, factories, and grocery stores. One video shows a shop owner in tears as his business is confiscated for charging higher prices than were allowed.
Hundreds of people, mostly Venezuelan migrants, held a rally against Maduro and in favor of Juan Guaido, head of Venezuela's opposition-run congress who proclaimed himself president of the South American nation. She noted that, often, even that amount was not available. Surveys show the average Venezuelan has lost 24 pounds. The apartment that [my family] left behind — my home for 24 years — is now empty. They are not coming back.Venezuela is going through one of the worst political and economic crises in modern history.
Once a stable democracy and economic powerhouse, Venezuela is now on the brink of collapse and the country is effectively insolvent. Read on for nine hard-to-believe facts about Venezuela's economy today. Visit Markets Insider's homepage for more stories The nation of Venezuela is in a state of crisis.
Over the past few years, corruption and failed government policies have led Venezuela's economy to collapse, causing infrastructure to crumble and leaving millions of Venezuelans in poverty. The hardships faced by residents include catastrophic nationwide blackouts, hyperinflation, food shortages, and disease.
The New York Times recently called the crisis the worst the world has ever seen outside of war. More than 3 million Venezuelans have fled the country since the crisis began, many of them walking out on foot. Meanwhile the production and export of goods have dropped off dramatically, leaving an economy that was once the strongest in Latin America in dire straits. We compiled nine hard-to-believe facts about Venezuela's economy that illustrate the devastating effects of the nation's crisis:.
Under present circumstances, many Venezuelans' monthly salaries cannot cover the cost of a single gallon of milk. Venezuela may sit on more known oil than any other nation, but it produces relatively little oil these days. From a high of 3. During most of the decades following Venezuela's adoption of a democratic government in through the s, the country was the richest nation in South America, according to PRI's The World.
The collapse of oil prices in the s and failed economic policies brought an end to its financial primacy in the region. In what has largely been a futile effort to keep citizens out of abject poverty, Maduro routinely decrees an increase in the country's minimum wage. For reference, in terms of US dollars, that 2. And at the time of the assessment, in mid, inflation in Venezuela was around 1 million percent, according to NBC News. According to World Economics Ltd.
The state, however, has not released an official unemployment figure sincewhen it claimed a 7. Production, agriculture, and exports in Venezuela are so stymied that the country's output may fall by a quarter this year alone. That's the worst performance of any economy since Libya fell into civil war inand about the worst contraction ever experienced by any country not in a war, as calculated by the IMF.
According to the C IA Factbookin recent years oil has accounted for almost all of Venezuela's exports, and is responsible for about half of the Venezuelan government's annual revenue. Steven John. Venezuela has the world's largest proven oil reserves, but its production today is 2. Venezuela used to be the wealthiest country in South America. Inexperts estimate that in Venezuela, a roll of toilet paper cost 2. Find News. Follow us on:. Also check out:. All rights reserved.
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