By: S. Tamayo
February has been quite an active and messy month for Venezuela. Although the conflict has been going on for a while now, February of 2019 has brought disorder, instability and conflict in Venezuela. Venezuela´s problems can be traced back a long time but 2 names stand out the most. Hugo Chavez former Venezuelan president from 1999 until his death in 2013, after that Nicolas Maduro followed him and is still in power after he was re-elected for a second six year term after highly controversial election in May 2018. Both leaders along with their socialist policies are to blame for Venezuela´s situation currently after their socialist policies that were meant to battle poverty and inequality in Venezuela backfired.
Venezuela now suffers from poverty, hunger, hyperinflation, unsanitary conditions, etc. After Mr Maduro´s re-election many foreign parties rejected the election and claimed the decision was fair and/or altered by internal forces working for the president. This is why former leader of Venezuela´s National Assembly, 35-year-old Juan Guaidó has taken the position of power as interim president and taken control of all executive powers. Over 50 countries openly recognize Guaidó as the interim president in as an attempt to force Maduro out of power.
The three main powers that have attempted to make contact with Maduro and help the Venezuelans in need are the USA, Colombia and Brazil. Both Colombia and Brazil have a border with Venezuela, which facilitates the process of providing aid for those who want it. The US operates via these borders offering aid (medicine, food, supplies, etc.). However President Maduro rejects this help, claiming that the US allied with Colombia and Brazil to humiliate Venezuela, that Donald Trump intends to create a “humanitarian crisis” in order to justify a “military intervention” and that Venezuela does not need any foreign help.
This is what Nicolas Maduro does, he denies it all. In an interview he did with the BBC he answered all questions made by Orla Guerin by saying that he information she had was wrong, that Venezuela struggled like any other country would and that the USA is only trying to take military control over Venezuela, that they can't be trusted and that the aid they provide is all rotten food and scrubs so it would be humiliating for Venezuela to accept it. Mr Maduro is so certain that Venezuela is not in a crisis that he reject all aid coming from Brazil and Colombia as it is contaminated with the US intention to take over Venezuela. Maduro even blocked the border with Brazil and takes violent military action when help is coming from Colombia, he authorized for Venezuelan soldiers to throw gas grenades and even physically assault volunteers and protesters offering help in the border in Cucuta or even against other Venezuelans trying to follow the 3 million that have already escaped the country. On February 23 2019 Colombian migration authority said that at least thirteen Venezuelan soldiers abandoned their posts and walked to Colombia as a sign of protest against Maduro and showing support for Guaidó.
In more recent news Venezuela´s capital Caracas has been facing its worst ever blackout in history for the second day straight. Schools, workplaces and hospitals have been closed and citizens have been suggested to stay at home for their own safety. The power cut comes amid a political crisis with president Nicolas Maduro facing a challenge from opposition leader Juan Guaidó. This is all the information we have so far.
It looks like Venezuela´s long lasting crisis is to come to an end sometime soon. As opposition against Maduro rises both internally and externally and Venezuela is in dire need of some sort of humanitarian help after Maduro blocked all humanitarian aid from entering the country it seems like Maduro doesn’t have much choice unless he wants to crash Venezuela into the ground to the point where there is no recovering from it. But we will see…