By Ajay Jejurikar, The Chronicle
On November 29, 2018, delegates representing countries around the world will convene at Hilton Chicago to discuss current social, humanitarian and cultural issues (SOCHUM). One major topic that will be debated in SOCHUM is the Venezuelan economic crisis.
In the late 1920s, Venezuela was the world’s largest oil producer. Due to oil exports, Venezuela’s economy thrived for several decades and was considered the strongest in South America. However, in the early 1990s, communist forces took control of Venezuela. These forces, led by Hugo Chavez, promoted economic policies that crippled Venezuela’s oil market. While the nation’s economy was strong, Venezuela’s economic stability was entirely dependent on oil profits. Thus, when oil prices fell in 2014 under President Maduro of Venezuela, Venezuela’s economy fell as well.
Venezuela’s economic crash in 2014 led to massive inflation. As a result, many generic goods, including toiletries and food items, became too expensive for the majority of Venezuelan civilians. In fact, 90 percent of Venezuelan residents reported that they were starving. Additionally, the Venezuelan crisis has resulted in severe medical shortages in the nation. A countless number of Venezuelans have died due to poor medical conditions. Dr. Christian Pino, a surgeon in Venezuela, described the country’s hospitals as “something from the nineteenth century.” President Maduro has done little to quell the economic crisis. Furthermore, Maduro has brutally suppressed protesters calling for his removal from office. In total, 4 million people have fled Venezuela for neighboring countries due to the economic crisis. It is clear that the current state in Venezuela is unsustainable.
Several South American nations bordering Venezuela have urged the UN to take action against Maduro’s regime. The representative of Brazil explained, “Maduro has been an ineffective leader in Venezuela. Removing him from office would stimulate the oil industry, promote medical development, and hopefully benefit the people of Venezuela.” Contrarily, allies of Maduro, including China, staunchly oppose diplomatic measures against Venezuela. According to the delegation of China, “Hurting Venezuela’s government stability would cripple the global oil industry, which would not only harm the economy of China, but the economies of all developed nations around the world.” It seems that the Venezuelan crisis will be up for fierce debate when countries convene on Thursday at the Hilton Chicago.