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.
Following the very public femicide of a pregnant Ecuadorian woman by her partner, a Venezuelan immigrant, violent protests have erupted among Ecuadorian citizens who are demanding a crackdown on immigration from Venezuela. After the start of the protests, Ecuador’s President Lenín Moreno announced that new measures would be considered to limit immigration and that security forces would be deployed to monitor Venezuelan immigrants. These public reactions to the murder, and Moreno’s response, have been harshly criticized by those who view them as xenophobic against innocent Venezuelans.
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.
As conditions worsen in Venezuela, more and more families are finding themselves in a state of food insecurity. As of 2016, two-thirds of all Caracas households surveyed by the children’s rights group Cecodap reported that they were not eating a substantial quantity of food, and that number has been rising (Walkers 2016). With few alternatives, many parents have had to turn their nightmares into reality and give up their children in an effort to provide them with food.
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.