News, World

Venezuela’s failing foreign friendships

CREATIVE COMMONS The food crisis in Venezuela has left shelves and pantries empty. The crisis can be traced to to the downfall of Hugo Chavez.
CREATIVE COMMONS
The food crisis in Venezuela has left shelves and pantries empty. The crisis can be traced to to the downfall of Hugo Chavez.

 

Over the past few decades, falling oil prices and the overall instability of the Venezuelan government have set Venezuela into massive inflation. As Venezuela stops international trade, super markets are finding it harder to get products, hospitals are running out of medication and acquiring even basic amenities such as toiletries or groceries a daily struggle for Venezuelan families, according to Pan-American Post reporter Luis H. Ball.

The root for the economic crisis can be traced back to Hugo Chavez’s regime and its downfall. Many also blame the current president, Nicolas Maduro, and his failure to take up the late president’s legacy by following it with corruption and inexperience.

Luis Volcan, former member of the Venezuelan military academy and missionary pastor who now resides in North Carolina, explained that during his time in the military academy, he began to get a taste of the corruption the government would eventually turn to.

Volcan’s squad captain was none other than Hugo Chavez himself. “I noticed that there was not truth in him [Chavez]. I was young and new, but I got an impression of Chavez even before he got to be president… he was a dictator, a tyrant with authority,” Volcan said.

While Volcan agrees with the majority of the country in blaming Chavez and believes that the rapid deterioration of Venezuela began with Chavez’s regime, he also recognizes that the country elected Chavez because the people were tired of the corruption in the political parties. Prior to Chavez, Venezuelans had been ruled by a corrupt democracy. At that time, however, the country had well stablished international relations so resources were not lacking.

Ronald Johnson, former missionary in Venezuela in the 1980s, remembers a Venezuela much changed from the disintegrating nation it has become.

“They had their oil resources and had a lot of infrastructure being built. I can remember I visited one of the nicest theaters I had ever been in while in Venezuela. They even had wild amusement and game parks. It was really just an incredible place,” Johnson said.

While there was some economic struggle within the population in Venezuela, the country as a whole was very prosperous, according to Johnson. Volcan remembers his country in a similar light but recognizes that even when resources were abundant, they were still expensive.

Currently Venezuela has stopped trade with the United States, Mexico, Canada and various other countries. Volcan expressed that this has been devastating as the country is not capable of being self-sufficient with their main industry being oil. The lack of trade is causing the country’s shortages.

“After Chavez and now with Maduro as president, the country doesn’t have good relationships with key countries such as Mexico, The United States, Colombia, Canada and others. Therefore, they don’t have enough food, and they don’t produce enough for all the Venezuelan people,” Volcan said.

Volcan and his wife often send care packages made up of toiletries and cooking items to his friends and family back in Venezuela, as many of them are struggling to find work and cannot pay for or find the products.