This South American nation on the Caribbean is currently mired in an economic collapse, due in part to economic failures compounded by economic sanctions.
Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world, but due to sanctions imposed on its energy sector and a drop in crude oil prices it is now a failed state unable to serve its people.
A recent study found nearly 90 percent of Venezuelans live in poverty. According to the opposition-led National Assembly, prices in Venezuela rose 4,068 percent in 2018. The Los Angeles Times reported in 2016 it cost $150 to buy a dozen eggs.
In May, it was reported Venezuela’s inflation rate had spiraled to 25,000 percent and its annual rate of inflation is running at 99,900 percent. The situation is so critical the Maduro government rolled out new currency bills. 10,000, 20,000, and 50,000 Bolívar bills began circulating on June 13.
Although Venezuela has not released an official unemployment rate since 2016, it is estimated the rate in 2019 will be 44 percent.
Large numbers of people have fled the country to escape dire conditions. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, put the number at 4 million as of June.
In 2017 Human Rights Watch reported the Chávez and Maduro regimes engaged in violent repression of street protests, jailed opponents, and prosecuted civilians in military courts.
The US has unsuccessfully attempted to foment coups during the reign of Hugo Chávez and his successor, Nicolás Maduro. The US claims Juan Guaidó of the Popular Will party is the legitimate president of the country. This claim is rejected by most Venezuelans. Military defections encouraged by Guaidó in March were largely unsuccessful.
Members of Guaidó’s team are under investigation for allegedly embezzling money earmarked to help defecting soldiers in the Colombian border town of Cúcuta.
Following Vice President Mike Pence’s threats leveled against Venezuela during a meeting of the Lima Group in Bogotá in February, Colombian President Iván Duque said, “If you’re living in a condo and every single night your neighbor next door beats his wife and his children and you hear the screams, wall to wall, what should your moral attitude be?” Duque answered his question by saying, “Our moral duty has to be to push Maduro out of power.”
This U.S. led coup attempt engineered by Washington has failed and Guaidó’s support among the Venezuelan population has greatly diminished. While out of the mainstream media, additional U.S. action to overthrow the Maduro government may well be in the making.