Recently, Venezuela's black market economy has been “booming,” or rather, has been able to supply basic goods to consumers that the government no longer supplies on a regular basis. The economic crisis in Venezuela, which has brought on shortages of food and other goods, has become normal for citizens, but recently President Nicolás Maduro declared an economic state of emergency. Inflation has caused prices for basic goods like rice, beans and flour to go up in price exponentially, but throughout the crisis gas prices remain extremely low. In order to combat the inflation, which is expected to reach 700% by the end of this year, Maduro raised the price of oil by 6,000%. Venezuelan oil still remains the cheapest in the world but the hike in prices comes at a time when most people are struggling to keep food on the table.
Maduro’s decision to raise gas prices seeks to save money that would have otherwise been spent on gas subsidies, saving approximately $USD 800 million. While the reality on the street shows the extreme effects of his policies, a push for his impeachment by the largely opposition congress will most likely not be fulfilled if it reaches the supreme court, which supports the Chavista government. Violent crimes and homicides have also risen in Venezuela, making it the most murderous country in the world with 90 homicides per 100,000 people.2
Along with this dubious distinction, Venezuela has been deemed the world’s worst performing economy.With the price of oil dropping around the world, Venezuela’s economic problems will continue to grow. Many believed that the congressional elections, in which citizens voted for an opposition majority, would lead to changes that would help the socio-economic situation in Venezuela. Unfortunately, many problems, ranging from food shortages to crime, have yet to be solved and haunt Maduro, a steadfast Chavista. Many international groups have pulled out of Venezuela, deeming it too unstable and unsafe, creating problems that the divided government has yet to fix.
1) Scharfenberg, Edwald. "El Presidente De Venezuela Multiplica Por Sesenta El Precio De La Gasolina." EL PAÍS. N.p., 18 Feb. 2016. Web. 28 Feb. 2016. Available at :http://internacional.elpais.com/internacional/2016/02/18/america/1455752332_822940.html
2) Davies, Wyre. "Venezuela's Decline Fuelled by Plunging Oil Prices - BBC News." BBC News. N.p., 20 Feb. 2016. Web. 28 Feb. 2016. Available at:http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-35622188
3)DÍaz, María Eugenia, and Nicholas Casey. "Price of Gas Skyrockets in Venezuela (to 38 Cents a Gallon)." The New York Times. The New York Times, 19 Feb. 2016. Web. 28 Feb. 2016. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/20/world/americas/price-of-gas-skyrockets-in-venezuela-to-38-cents-a-gallon.html?ref=americas