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Venezuela

In Venezuela, The Maduro Reign Is Doomed

Political repression is one thing, but if store shelves are empty, the so-called "revolution" is destined to crumble.

Maduro, holding on to the past?
Maduro, holding on to the past?
Uriel Ortiz Soto

-OpEd-

BOGOTA — Hunger and misery spell the end of every revolution. The sufferers, for the sake of survival, will seek whatever means are avaible to break the chains that bind them.

It is one thing for a government to be oppressive, repressive and contemptuous of basic rights. Unpleasant as such conditions are, they are tolerable for many. What can't be accepted is a scarcity of basic goods in shops and supermarkets. That's when regimes crumble. And that, right now, is the story in the Venezuela of President Nicolás Maduro.

In spite of his boastful talk about the "Bolivarian Revolution," which Maduro barely understands, Venezuelans are looking for a way to rid themselves of a government whose ignorance and thievery have effectively wasted, or compromised for years to come, the country's formidable oil revenues — money that will be very difficult to recover.

We Colombians should appreciate the precarious state in which our neighbors and relatives have been living in recent years. We are bound by ties of freedom, blood and love, and separated only by a border.

Venezuela's geopolitical situation began to deteriorate in the early years of the reign of Hugo Chávez (1999-2013) as he sought to rebuild Venezuela on "Bolivarian" foundations. Honestly, not even Chávez believed in the future of his program, and it wasn't long before his policies provoked dissent in the political class that has been at the helm of Venezuelan democracy and public life since independence in the 19th century.

The petrodollars that served the socialist regime also began to cause disruption across Latin America. Wherever the caudillo went, he arrived with a briefcase full of the oil money that has helped forge such entities as the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, ALBA, as it's known in Spanish.

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Coronavirus

In Shanghai, A Brewing Expat Exodus As COVID Crackdown Shows "Real" China

Not only strict rules of freedom of movement as part of Zero-COVID policy but also an increase in censorship has raised many questions for the expat population in the megacity of 26 million that had long enjoyed a kind of special status in China as a place of freedom and openness. A recent survey of foreigners in the Chinese megacity found that 48% of respondents said they would leave Shanghai within the next year.

People walk in Tianzifang, located in Huangpu District, a well-known tourist attraction in Shanghai.

Lili Bai

SHANGHAI — On the seventh day of the lockdown, Félix, a French expat who has worked in Shanghai for four years, texted his boss: I want to "run,' mais je sais pas quand (but I don’t know when). A minute later, he received a reply: moi aussi (me too).

Félix had recently learned the new Mandarin word 润 (run) from social network postings of his local friends. Because its pinyin “rùn” is the same as the English word “run,” Chinese youth had begun to use it to express their wish to escape reality, either to “be freed from mundane life”, or to “run toward your future.”

For foreigners like Félix, by associating the expression “run” with the feeling of the current lockdown in Shanghai, “everything makes sense.” Félix recalled how at the end of March, the government denied rumors of an impending lockdown: “My Chinese colleagues all said, Shanghai is China’s top city, there would be no lockdown no matter what.”

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