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.
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).
The Maduro government has staged a plan to help curb the staggering inflation crisis in the country--- by creating a new currency. The idea of implementing a new currency in Venezuela is not new, as the government had tried multiple times to restore some value in their worthless monetary system. The bad news is the country has a terrible track record with financial decisions dating back to when the value of oil took a nosedive and sent the country spiraling into crisis. Their first mistake was backing 98% of their economy in oil.