Jun 25, 2016 by

From crisis to disaster in Venezuela


Disaster seems so imminent in Venezuela that “you can hear the ice cracking.”

That’s what a U.S. intelligence official said last month amid warnings that the country could be headed for a collapse, Karen DeYoung of The Washington Post reported.

Countries in the region appear to be worried.  On Thursday, the head of the Organization of American States blamed Venezuela’s government for the economic and political mess and urged support for a recall referendum against President Nicolas Maduro, The Post’s Carol Morello wrote.

The OAS secretary general, Luis Almagro, also outlined “the nightmarish reality of daily life there.”

Photos from the country this week underscored that assessment, as desperate Venezuelans took increasingly dramatic steps to survive.

Venezuela has the largest reserves of oil in the world, and the government lived large when oil prices were high. But prices fell, and gross mismanagement slowed production.This week, veteran U.S. diplomat Tom Shannon was dispatched to Caracas to meet with government officials and the opposition in attempt to reduce tensions between the two countries. “Maduro may be hoping the meeting eases international pressure on him, analysts and diplomats said, while Washington likely calculates a rapprochement undermines Venezuela’s constant blame on ‘imperialist’ foes for the nation’s problems,” according to Reuters.

Venezuelan leaders are known for their anti-American rhetoric – Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chavez, once referred to President George W. Bush as “the devil.”

But Maduro’s comments this week were less colorful, as Reuters also reported: “I think it’s very good that the right steps are taken to rebuild relations with the United States,” he said.


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