The United States has had a longstanding tumultuous relationship with Nicolás Maduro, the acting President of Venezuela.
In May 2018, Venezuela re-elected President Nicolas Maduro, which resulted in polarized sentiments among a domestic and international audience
United States President Donald Trump is notorious for his strong, volatile rhetoric on major topics. His “strong-man” bravado is a large part of what attracted many voters to him in the 2016 Presidential Elections.
For the past few months, the political crisis in Venezuela has dominated headlines in international news.
The humanitarian crisis in Venezuela is reaching an all new level of severity. International ties between Venezuela and foreign actors have never been more complicated.
On Thursday, January 10 at 10:00 a.m., controversial leftist leader Nicolas Maduro was sworn in for a second 6-year term as President of Venezuela despite deteriorating economic and political conditions throughout the country. Although Maduro’s inauguration crowd was undeniably more sparse than in the past, a few leaders and foreign dignitaries made a point to make an appearance and show their support for the regime in spite of widespread international criticism.
Venezuela’s prolonged economic crisis has not slowed down. The International Monetary Fund projects an 1,000,000% inflation rate by the end of 2018 (Ellsworth). The country’s paper currency, the bolívar, has become nearly worthless while the government scrambles to implement different monetary reforms to ease inflation and reboot the economy. Despite the government’s attempts, Venezuelans have taken matters into their own hands, turning to the black market, exchanging goods and services, or using the U.S. dollar for functionality.
Since the start of the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela, the country has been seeing mass migration that has astounded many. A late-2017 survey compiled by the group Consultores 21 discovered that more than four million Venezuelans have left the country since the start of the revolution in 1999, with another 51 percent of young adults still living there stating that they had hopes of also emigrating (La Patilla 2018).
Last weekend, Venezuelans headed to the polls for the 2018 presidential election. Nicolas Maduro, the socialist successor of Hugo Chavez, took home 5.8 million votes, according to election officials, easily winning reelection with almost 68 percent of the overall votes (Neuman & Casey 2018). Henri Falcon, the leading opposition, fell more than 40 points behind to take second (Smith and Goodman 2018).