While he managed to reduce inequality during his time in power, some of the socialist polices he brought in backfired. Mr Maduro was re-elected to a second six-year term in May 2018 in highly controversial polls, which most opposition parties boycotted. Many candidates had been barred from running while others had been jailed or fled the country for fear of being imprisoned, and the opposition parties argued that the poll was neither free nor fair. Your one-minute briefing on the crisis in Venezuela. Want an ad-free experience?Subscribe to Independent Premium. But inequality grew extreme. OAS head urges international prosecutor to act on Venezuela. VideoSaving green turtles... by cooling their eggs, Moscow's palatial Yeliseyevsky food hall closes, The farmers eyeing sweet success from chocolate, Why Italians have the strictest rules about food, Sound of Success: Oscars Glory for Metal movie? He also said that he was the constitutional president and would remain so. Others have gone south to Brazil. Some analysts argue that they offer the Maduro government a convenient scapegoat to blame for the dire state of the economy. In Venezuela, the government of President Nicolás Maduro and the opposition are engaged in a bitter power struggle. Former President Bill Clinton made it his first stop on a trip to the region in 1997. © 2021 BBC. Venezuela has been devastated by socialism, even though it was once a stable democracy and the richest country in Latin America. Opposition lawmakers have been barred from standing for office, some have been arrested and others have gone into exile. The South American country has been caught in a downward spiral for years with growing political discontent further fuelled by skyrocketing hyperinflation, power cuts, and shortages of food and medicine. Despite attempts by Mr Guaidó to get the military to switch their allegiance to him, the armed forces have remained largely loyal to President Maduro, whose socialist party has also got a firm grip on the electoral body and the supreme court. Venezuela is in South America and has a population of 31.5 million. The history of Venezuela reflects events in areas of the Americas colonized by Spain starting 1522; amid resistance from indigenous peoples, led by Native caciques, such as Guaicaipuro and Tamanaco. Venezuela’s economic situation is unthinkably bad, especially for what was once South America’s richest nation. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. The security forces continue to be seen as the key player in this crisis. A dependence on oil caused economic turbulence, among other political issues. What happened? The country's oil-dependent revenues took a massive hit. A woman wearing a protective mask waits in line to refill gasoline at a gas station with subsidized fuel in Caracas, Venezuela, June 7, 2020. What Is Happening in Venezuela? They have so far remained loyal to Mr Maduro, who has rewarded them with frequent pay rises and put high-ranking military men in control of key posts and industries. So what happened? Citing articles in the constitution which in such cases call for the leader of the National Assembly to step in, Juan Guaidó declared himself acting president. Here's how it happened. The National Assembly was largely rendered powerless by the creation of the National Constituent Assembly in 2017, which is exclusively made up of government loyalists. However, it is President Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chávez who are the target of much of the current anger. Nicolás Maduro was first elected in April 2013, Mr Maduro was re-elected to a second six-year term in May 2018. According to the IMF, the Venezuelan economy shrank by 30% from 2013 through 2017, and the IMF is forecasting a fall in real GDP of 18 percent in … Venezuela was once one of the richest nations in the world. Venezuela has the world's largest proven oil reserves and saw some success in reducing poverty, but now it's in a deep crisis. The United Nations has accused the government of using a strategy of instilling fear in its population to retain power. The government headed by Nicolás Maduro, who has presided over Venezuela since 2013, declared a state of emergency in 2016. Venezuela jails US oil executives for corruption, Venezuela opposition figure secretly flees country, Venezuela gold: Maduro wins in UK appeals court, Protests over fuel shortages spread in Venezuela, Venezuela accused of 'egregious' crimes by UN, Venezuelan leader 'pardons' political detainees, US offers $5m reward for Venezuela's chief justice, 'Terrorist act' at Iranian nuclear facility. It created disincentives for production, and incentives for purchasing, hoarding and then reselling the scarce goods that there are. Riots, martial law and general strike follow, with hundreds killed in street violence. An anti-government protester walks near a bus that was set on fire by opponents of Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro during clashes between rebel and loyalist soldiers in Caracas, Venezuela… Talks between the government and the opposition held in 2019 made no progress. by Paul Goldberg June 23, 2020. written by Paul Goldberg June 23, 2020. Opposition lawmakers have been … Iran's top nuclear official says an incident at its Natanz site was "nuclear terrorism". The majority of those leaving have crossed into neighbouring Colombia, from where some move on to Ecuador, Peru and Chile. Despite his broad international support, Mr Guaidó does not wield much power in practical terms. Venezuela has had previous periods of economic downturn, but how has the current crisis gotten to this point? It averaged just over $35 in 2016. The government and the opposition do battle as ordinary Venezuelans weather an economic crisis. Business news website Bloomberg has been tracking the price of a cup of coffee in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, to show how prices have increased. 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We never could have imagined…or prepped for…what happened in Venezuela. What happens to your body in extreme heat? The National Assembly has continued to meet, but its decisions have been ignored by President Maduro in favour of those made by the National Constituent Assembly. ... and that’s exactly what has happened. A loosening of foreign currency controls originally brought in by President Chávez in 2003 has eased those shortages as traders can sell goods in dollars but that means they have again become largely unaffordable to the poor or those without access to the US currency. What Is Happening in Venezuela? Some of the problems go back a long time. Venezuela used to be one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Venezuela has been in the grip of an economic crisis for years now with hyperinflation one of the main problems. Philip was my teacher, supporter and critic - Anne, Jordan's royal family appear together after 'rift', Ecuador picks president in the shadow of Covid, Covid tests don't contain cancer-causing chemical, Saving green turtles... by cooling their eggs. The World’s Jason Margolis looks at the economic collapse that led to the election of Hugo Chávez in 1998. More than 50 countries recognised Mr Guaidó as the legitimate president, among them the US and many nations in Latin America. Some 120 people killed in … When Mr Chávez became president in 1999, he promised, among other things, to drive down Venezuela's huge levels of inequality. A vastly improved search engine helps you find the latest on companies, business leaders, and news more easily. Some Venezuelans have become disillusioned by the failure of Mr Guaidó to dislodge Mr Maduro from power and the opposition parties are divided over what the best strategy is. 1992 - Colonel Hugo Chavez and supporters make two coup attempts. Venezuela's problems were not caused by socialism in the last decade. Until recently Venezuela had been known for its oil, beauty queens, relaxed and happy people, and a President that loved Castro. Venezuela's Maduro seeks to tighten his grip via election. 'Terrorist act' at Iranian nuclear facility1, US soldier sues police over violent traffic stop2, Philip was my teacher, supporter and critic - Anne3, Jordan's royal family appear together after 'rift'4, New Brazil Christ statue to be taller than Rio's5, Cambodia criticises edited photos of victims6, Philip's funeral 'opportunity' to end royal 'rifts'7, When the Queen was snapped 'giggling' at the duke8, Lessons to be learnt over lobbying role - Cameron9, Prince Philip: A simple, family farewell10. What is the National Constituent Assembly? Migrants fleeing Venezuela sell art made from nearly worthless Venezuelan currency. The move was a direct challenge to the power of President Maduro, who had been sworn in to a second six-year term in office just two weeks previously. In Venezuela, the government of President Nicolás Maduro and the opposition are engaged in a bitter power struggle. Venezuela has been thrust into uncharted territory — with political tensions approaching boiling point ahead of two nationwide anti-government protests this week. Read about our approach to external linking. A basic guide to what has been happening in Venezuela, once one of Latin America's most prosperous countries, where a political and economic crisis has reached new heights. In 1811, it became one of the first Spanish-American … Saving green turtles... by cooling their eggs. Explains What Happened In Venezuela. After Venezuela adopted a democratic form of government in 1958 through the 1980s, the country was the richest nation in South America. The US has imposed sweeping sanctions on Venezuela and on Mr Maduro and his inner circle but they have failed to weaken Mr Maduro enough to drive him from office. Venezuela was a powerhouse of South America in the 1990s. This would be an unusual question to ask in most countries, but in Venezuela many want to know exactly that after opposition leader Juan Guaidó declared himself acting president on 23 January 2019. Nicolás Maduro was first elected in April 2013 after the death of his socialist mentor and predecessor in office, Hugo Chávez. That also happened to be the year that Hugo Chávez was elected president of Venezuela. Now it is the poorest nation in the Americas. The economy in Venezuela isn't doing well. Venezuela's highest-ever oil production occurred in 1998 at 3.5 million barrels per day (BPD). It is marked by hyperinflation, escalating starvation, disease, crime and mortality rates, resulting in massive emigration from the country. But Russia and China among others stood by President Maduro. The mass migration is one of the largest forced displacements in the western hemisphere. Video, Saving green turtles... by cooling their eggs, US soldier sues police over violent traffic stop, New Brazil Christ statue to be taller than Rio's, Cambodia criticises edited photos of victims, Philip's funeral 'opportunity' to end royal 'rifts', When the Queen was snapped 'giggling' at the duke, Lessons to be learnt over lobbying role - Cameron. Many in the media have blamed Venezuela’s worsening humanitarian crisis on corruption, mismanagement, falling oil prices, or U.S sanctions—anything but the rise of socialism in what was once the wealthiest country in South America. Take price controls, for example, which were aimed at making basic goods more affordable to the poor by capping the price of flour, cooking oil and toiletries. Venezuela is again living through one of the most critical times of its recent history – but the result of a military uprising in the streets of the capital Caracas is, as yet, unclear.