“Venezuela’s eminent collapse was decades in the making”
The following are reminders of why Venezuela is dangerously close to economic catastrophe:1998: Venezuela voters elect Chávez as President. 2001: Chávez begins to drift towards socialism. Thousands of Venezuelans take the streets against him. 2002: massive protests leaves 17 dead and Chávez is ousted from power in a coup led by businessman Pedro Carmona. Chávez returns to power 3 days later. 2004: Chávez holds a referendum that ratifies his term in office. He creates the “Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas” (ALBA), an alternative to the FTAA (a free trade zone proposed by the US). ALBA includes countries from Caribbean and Central America. Venezuela sells them oil at discount prices, with a two-year grace period and 20-year for repayment. 2005: Chávez defeats the opposition, which abstained from parliamentary elections. The President controls Parliament in its entirety, along with the judicial and executive branches. 2007: Chávez begins an aggressive policy of confiscating and expropriating private companies. He aims to control the media and the food industry. Introduces constitutional reforms that make Venezuela practically a socialist country. 2008-09: Chávez destroys the national industry with exchange controls, preventing companies from buying supplies and essential raw materials, while flooding the country with cheap agricultural imports. Overpricing and corruption abound. Oil prices drop severely and the economy suffers. He passes an amendment that allows him to be re-elected indefinitely. 2012: Chávez wins the election but appears in public only twice due to his cancer. Chávez dies on April 5, 2013. Maduro wins the presidential election one month later. 2013: Paralyzed politically, Maduro prints money to pay for the fiscal deficit, and prays that oil prices rise. He tightens foreign exchange controls to pay the foreign debt. spiralling inflation ensues. 2014-15: The chokehold on imports leads to shortages of medicines and food. The ruling party loses the parliamentary election. Maduro struggles to stay in power due to his inability to solve the crisis. Governor of Lara, Henri Falcon, a former Chavista: “At any moment, the political, social and economic crisis may lead to a conflict of incalculable consequences”.