Venezuela: The Mother of All Marches

Rositsa Keranova is currently a BSc Economics student in her second year.

In the last article we observed the economics recessions in Venezuela, but how do they affect the social life of the individuals?

The crisis resulted in great shortages of food and products, which are basic needs. Venezuelans spend much of their time queuing, in front of the supermarkets, for goods even though the shelves are rarely full. The economy is strongly focused on the oil industry, so there is little local production of food and basic commodities. For the manufacturing that does exist, it is likely to fail, due to exchange controls, a lack of suitable inputs and trade opportunities. In addition, the lives of Venezuelans, is made even more difficult because of the shortage of production, on national level, low levels of imports and tremendous levels of inflation. Data shows that 81% of the households, in the country, live in poverty. Due to increased difficulties with respect to trade, unemployment has become even more prominent. Sometimes even the total household income is not sufficient for a basic package of food.

The poverty, hunger and suffering pushes the citizens to their limit. The crime rates started to increase considerably, because of the people’s desperation. Currently, Caracas is the most dangerous city in the world, due to the complete anarchy, in the country. People are getting kidnapped for ransom, killed and raped on daily basis. The drugs market has gained in influence. Due to the high poverty and unemployment rate, Venezuelans join gangs, which gives them access to selling drugs, which in turn allows them to make some kind of income. This trend leads to even greater levels of crime in the country. At this point in time Venezuela is in complete disarray, with gangs roaming the streets, the population being too scared to visit public places or even sometimes too afraid to leave their houses.

What does the government do about these problems? To the spectator it seems like little to nothing, even at times. They drive the country into even bigger recess, with the corruption in the country skyrocketing. Not only that, the police corruption is another matter of concern. One out of every five crimes is committed by a police officer. When the president and ministers do not act on the dire economic situation and do not address the level of crime. Venezuelans are left with no other choice, but to raise their voices and fight the current regime.

On the 19th of April a series of protests started, in all of the country, and millions of people took part in them. All over the world it was called ‘The Mother of All Marches’, due to the sheer number of Venezuelans participating and the importance of their cause. To this date the protests have been running for fifty days. During that period the citizens accused President Nicolas Maduro of dictatorship and asked for his resignation. The demonstration took a violent turn, in the very beginning, when the protestors clashed with the police. In the chaos, accompanied by gas bombs and Molotov cocktails, around 950 people were injured and around 70 were killed. So far the government hasn’t issued a statement and it doesn’t seem to take the people’s opinions into consideration. At this moment in time the fight for a brighter future, for Venezuela, is continuing. We can only hope that some serious changes are on the horizon and that they will be reached sooner rather than later.

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