When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Caracas' Nuevo Amanecer neighborhood
Caracas' Nuevo Amanecer neighborhood
Andrés Hoyos

-Analysis-

BOGOTA — Venezuela is in crisis — a tremendous one. Food and basic drugs are in short supply. The annual murder rate has reached 79 per 100,000 inhabitants, one of the highest in the world and a cold figure that covers a multitude of personal tragedies. Inflation is expected to reach a rate of over 70% by the end of this year, robbing the poor of their earnings, though they can always hope the government will allow them to ransack stores, as it has in the past.

In any case, a television cannot replace food. Any doubts about the gravity of the situation can be dispelled by the socialist regime's own admission that poverty is growing, despite the $1 trillion it has earned from selling oil over the last 15 years. They must be saving at least some of this petro fortune, right? Wrong.

No, Venezuela is "unsaving" — increasingly pre-selling oil, especially to China, and swelling public debt in the process. Under pressure, the government is hastily squandering its Citgo refineries and gas stations, ludicrously depriving itself of assured outlets for its heavy crude.

The separation of powers disappeared long ago, turning Venezuelan democracy into a hollow shell. The show trial given to political opposition leader Leopoldo López, now jailed, violated each and every one of his rights to a fair prosecution. The public purse is being ransacked while drug trafficking flourishes. It brings to mind Colombian drug lord Carlos Lehder, who used to corrupt the region from the Bahamas.

Video: Jamie Bayly interviews Leopoldo López on MegaTV on July 9, 2013

Unfortunately, the repeatedly battered opposition has made mistakes. The "intransigent" faction was betting on President Nicolas Maduro"s downfall, and because he remains standing, there is an impression that he is somehow stronger for having survived his tug-of-war with opponents. María Corina Machado, the conservative parliamentarian sacked from her seat, is among those proposing a constituent assembly, which would be tantamount to the regime's capitulation. Another, equally improbable idea is that a sector of the armed forces could overthrow the president. Nobody should hold their breath.

Few in the opposition seem to understand that it is better for the Chavista movement itself to initiate changes when it no longer knows where to go next. If Maduro were to resign tomorrow, and López and his ally Henrique Capriles took over, they would have to deal with a veritable debacle on all fronts. They would be forced to take draconian measures, and their government could easily fail. It would cause a cycle of crises and emergencies not unlike those that prompted the disorderly demise of Argentina's tottering democracy in the 1970s. A large part of the opposition is in any case moving away from the political center, toward political suicide, should they stay the course.

Maduro is implementing a version of the Cuban model whose force should not be underestimated. He has gradually liquidated the independent media, the last victim being the newspaper El Universal. The only critical national daily left is El Nacional, though without enough paper. Information is still available on the Internet, but that's not where most Venezuelan voters seek it.

The last factor feeding a growing pessimism is that people backing the regime appear to have become used to crises. The lies, thievery, shortages and official incompetence. Initial outrage is followed by resignation.

Right now, it's very difficult to feel optimistic about Venezuela.

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Geopolitics

The Paradox Of Putin's War: Europe Is Going To Get Bigger, And Move Eastward

The rules for accession to the European Union have been modified to accelerate Kyiv's bid. But it won't stop there.

European Parliament in Strasbourg

Valon Murtezaj

-Analysis-

PARIS — Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has upended the European order as we know it, and that was even before the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline was cut off earlier this month. While the bloc gets down to grappling with the unfolding energy crisis, the question of consolidating its flanks by speeding up the enlargement process has also come back into focus.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

In a critical meeting on June 23-24, the European Сouncil granted candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova and recognized the “European perspective” of Georgia – a nod acknowledging the country’s future belonged within the European Union.

Less than a month later, Brussels brought to an end the respectively 8- and 17-year-long waits for Albania and North Macedonia by allowing them into the foray of accession negotiations.

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
Writing contest - My pandemic story
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ