Venezuela’s many years of wealth from their oil reserves have slowly come to an end, and now the country faces an economic crisis.
Under former Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez’s reign, the country “saw a massive reduction in poverty, more children in school, and greater access to clean drinking water” reported CNN.
Unfortunately, Chavez passed away in 2013 and current President Nicolás Maduro replaced him.
Citizens are currently facing the daily struggle of scavenging for simple resources such as food and medicine.
They have resorted to the “Maduro diet,” where citizens eat fewer meals each day to make the most of their food. The diet was named after the president after he said doing without “makes you tough” according to CNN.
Unemployment and crime rates, as well as random electricity blackouts, have been occurring more frequently.
According to the BBC, “Oil accounts for about 95% of Venezuela’s export revenues.
With the oil declining, the country’s foreign currency has too, preventing them from buying goods from other countries, including most modern medicine.
According to CNN, “the price of flour is below the cost of production. Domestic producers have stopped making corn flour.”
The Central Bank of Venezuela only has $10.5 billion left for foreign reserves, and $7.2 billion is going toward debt payments reported CNN.
In efforts to aid the economy and counter protests, Maduro raised the minimum wage by 60% and handed out hundreds of homes.
Still, multiple protests have taken place, leaving a total of 29 people dead and more than 1,300 arrested.
The protesters “are demanding early elections and freedom for dozens of political prisoners as a way out of the stalemate,” reported The Washington Post.
The leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis publicly appealed to the Venezuelan government by saying “the government and all the components of the Venezuelan society [need to avoid] every further form of violence, human rights are respected and negotiated solutions are sought.”