Venezuela's Crisis; The Upcoming Election
What you need to know Venezuela
Image source: Juan Barreto / AFP - Getty ImagesIn 3 days, Venezuelans will be voting to rewrite their country's constitutional laws in favour of the current President - Nicolas Maduro.
Maduro has arranged for a National Constituent Assembly to be held this Sunday to supersede all other legislative bodies, essentially allowing the president to create favourable terms for his rule.
To date, more than 1.5 million Venezuelans have fled the country because of the economic crisis. - CNBC, July 2017
How it all began
The protests originate back in January last year, when the Supreme Court prevented the election of four legislators for alleged voting irregularities.
The opposition accused the court of trying to strip them of their majority position, and went ahead and to validate the position of three legislators. The Supreme Court then ruled that the opposition-led National Assembly was in contempt of court and any decisions it made would be nullified.
In early 2017, the National Assembly disapproved the decision of state-run oil and gas company PDVSA (Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A.) to work with private companies. The government went to the Supreme Court, attempting to supersede the legislative powers of the National Assembly.
The next day, protests erupt but were met with bloodshed and violence from the government. Although the court reversed their decision, demonstrations have since continued.
The current situation
Today marks the second day of a national strike in protest of Sunday's voting.
Venezuela is deeply immersed in crisis, faced with corruption, crime, hyper-inflation and an economic recession.
Hundreds of people have died since April in protests against the current president and hundreds more have been injured and arrested, according to Reuters.
Despite being the country with the world's largest oil reserve, 82% of Venezuela live in poverty. Venezuelans face hunger, starvation to death with hyper-inflation hampering access to food and medicine.
Venezuelans continue to revolt
Image source: CNN
Venezuelans continue to revolt against the corrupt system, hoping to oust their current president and see change.
Highways were almost empty and businesses across the country shut their doors as millions observed the 48-hour strike in solidarity and activists create roadblocks in neighbourhoods to prevent others from getting to work.
Rule with an Iron First
Venezuela under dictatorship rule from the start - people living under extreme poverty far outnumber people living in poverty. Image source: unknown
Under Maduro's dictatorship rule, the call for voting is to eliminate political dissent and gain complete control over the country.
This is evident as the president plans to deploy 232,000 solider on the streets to ensure the election will proceed, according to Reuters.
The nonprofit Transparency International says it has identified at least 511 companies that are either wholly or majority owned by the government of Venezuela — and 70 percent of them are losing money, potentially adding to Venezuela’s economic meltdown. - Miami Herald
Besides state-owned enterprises, Venezuela has state-owned media channels that are unsurprisingly not so popular.
Effects of Venezuela's crisis
While Maduro persists with the construction of ANC (Asamblea Nacional Constituyente de Venezuela), Venezuela's crippling economic crisis continues, with acute shortages of food and basic goods.
While facing the possibility of disruption to exports, nations will take to barring their citizens from entering Venezuela during the crisis for safety reasons.
Continued mass migration of refugees to neighbouring countries and the region will overwhelm other countries.
More bloodshed and innocent deaths will occur as fighting between military, police and ordinary citizens persist.
North America and European Union's stance
President Trump has openly criticised Maduro and the ANC. Trump cautioned last week he would take "strong and swift economic actions" if the election is carried out.
However, the U.S. relies heavily on Venezuela for oil supplies and sanctions are highly unlikely to occur according to Barclay banks' researchers.
The European Union has also expressed their disapproval of the ANC process to Maduro. Last week, the foreign affairs council talked about taking action against some Venezuelan leaders, so far nothing concrete has happened.
To date, 13 countries including the U.S. have issued statements urging Maduro to call off the election.
The countries are Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and the United States.
Power in numbers
Power to the People! Image source: unknown
Spread the word, talk about it, make it an important issue for discussion at school or with your friends and family.
Share your thoughts on social media. Make a petition. The key is to draw enough attention to this issue.
Often-times, people do not care because they think it will not affect them directly but this is not just a political crisis. It is a humanitarian one as well.
There needs to be change and under the current leadership of Nicola Maduro, the country has only been embroiled in economic distress and utter turmoil.