How has the situation become so bad in a democratic society?
“In 1998 a man called Hugo Chávez won the elections. He promised to end corruption and took advantage of a generalized disappointment toward traditional parties and called for a Constituent Assembly to change the constitution to essentially give himself more power. The Venezuelans were so desperately needed for a change that they completely trusted Chavez, a charismatic ex-military that lead a failed coup against President Carlos Andrés Perez in 1992. He was jailed but later pardoned because the coup was very popular between the poorer sections of the society. He took advantage of this and ran a successful campaign promising to end poverty and bring prosperity for all.
While Chavez may have been correct in pointing out the corruption of the old politicians, he would continue many of its failed policies throughout his regime, amplifying their disastrous effects and implementing them in a tyrannical fashion.
Currency controls, expropriations, price controls, and the use of the state-owned oil company, PDVSA, to finance social spending programs were fixtures of Hugo Chavez’s socialist economic policy. The same vices of the past kept repeating, with the difference that Chavez was not a social democrat, he was a socialist Marxist.
In addition, Venezuelan political institutions were completely subjugated, media outlets were suppressed, and political activists were subject to numerous human rights violations under Chavez’s rule.
Fast forward to 2013, Chavez died of cancer; everyone was shocked because how repentine it was. I must say that I cried tears of joy, ‘’is finally over’’ I thought. How wrong I was.
Before his death, knowing he might not recover, he appointed Nicolas Maduro as his successor, and took a plane to treat his cancer in every communist’s favorite island: Cuba, where he died.
Presidential elections were scheduled for April 14th. Maduro surfing the wave of tears caused by the unexpected death of Chavez ‘’won’’ the elections with a narrow margin of 1.6%. The opposition demanded a recount and the National Electoral Council, controlled since 2005 by chavistas, said no because ‘’It would take too much work’’.
Chavistas were scared, and these results showed one thing: they have lost support of a important sector of the population, if they held another election they could lose. So they looked at one another and said ‘’well, we have two options: we could resign power to the opposition and risk being jailed for corruption and human right violations, or… we could become a full blown dictatorship like Cuba, we already control all government branches so it wouldn’t be that hard”.
Oil prices plummeted government can’t subsidize more food, and we came across the sad reality: there is no productive economic apparatus and we are importing 95% of the food we consume. Shortages first appeared in 2012 on products like chicken and milk but now they extended to all basic products.
In 2015 their fears were confirmed. The people had enough chavismo. The opposition gained the majority of the seats on the National Assembly, sufficient to call for a referendum to impeach Maduro. The Electoral National Council cancelled the referendum alleging ‘’fraud’’.
Chavismo’s days were numbered and they knew it.
Maduro quickly filled the Supreme Court with loyalists and in March of 2017 ordered them to strip the National Assembly of all its powers. Protests took place during six months and leaved hundreds of deaths, the majority of them were students that committed the crime of wanting a better future.
Maduro illegally called for an election to choose the members of a Constituent Assembly that will rewrite the constitution and has powers above of those of Maduro. The assembly was ‘’elected’’ and since the opposition did not participate in the election, it’s only filled with pro-government cronies.
We failed. Now Maduro has absolute control of all over the country at the cost of starving half of the population, the chances of him stepping down peacefully are very narrow. The majority of Venezuelans now vote with their feet, they just simply leave Venezuela.
TLDR; we elected a crazy lunatic as our president, he destroyed our economy in his pursuit of total power, but he gave a lot of free stuff so people kept voting him for 13 years. Lunatic died and left someone more corrupt than him. Now he has destroyed what little’s left of our country.
We are suffering the consequences of our bad choices.”