Currently, in the world we live in, there is a growth of corruption in governments all around the world, which negatively affects the lives of millions of people. This ultimately undermines the values and institutions of democracy. However, there is a specific country in South America that is currently undergoing one of the most tragic crises of all time. Hello, my name is Gabriel Fusaro, and today I will be informing you of the political, economic, and environmental crises in which Venezuelans are going through at this very moment. As a Venezuelan, who hears the concerns and problems, my family, in Venezuela are having to endure on a daily basis, I can assure you that this is an evident problem in our world.
First of all, it is important to become familiar with the politics of Venezuela before and after corruption took over the government. In the year 1999, Venezuela held presidential elections where as a result, Hugo Chavez won. Hugo Chavez is notoriously known for the socialist reform he seeked to have in the political system of Venezuela when compared to the strict democracy Venezuela had beforehand. What is socialism you may ask? Socialism is, in simple terms, the means to where the people, not the government, control production and sometimes can decide which products can be produced, its price, etc. Chávez launched what he called the ‘Bolivarian Revolution ” which is basically a reformation for Venezuelan nationalism, and a state-led socialist society as I have mentioned before. It is named Bolivarian, because the liberator of many south American countries, including Venezuela, from Spanish rule, was named Simon Bolivar. He also held meetings which drafted a new Constitution of Venezuela. Chávez was then granted executive power to rule by decree (allow a ruler to edit laws unpredictably) which led to many laws passed that were considered unjust. Chavez was loved by the working class Venezuelans where the poverty rate fell by more than half and education improved. However, because of the shift from being more conservative to pure liberal (socialist), many of Chavez’s supporters and the administration started abusing power. Amongst other issues, he allowed for more power to his benefit, successfully elongated his time as president, and went against TV stations that were politically against him. Once he died in 2013, Nicholas Maduro succeeded Chavez and from there, everything went downhill. He sought leftist policies where the government became a dictatorship, and he set up an assembly where he wrote another constitution and eliminated any opposition. He remains dictator today and is considered illegitimate by over 20 countries.
In addition, given the politics of Venezuela, it is fundamental to know the economic crises that is occurring as of this moment. Many people do not know this, but the largest oil deposit anywhere in the world is in Venezuela, which explains its rich past before Hugo Chavez, having available 300,000 million barrels of oil. As a matter of fact, the main means of revenue of Venezuela comes from natural gas and oil. Maduro in 2014 lowered oil production by approximately 10 percent, which led to oil prices to decrease about 50%. Ultimately, Maduro decided to increase the inflation rate of goods by 800 percent because he thought that this was how this problem was to be solutionized. To understand this rate, look at these examples: According to a statistic by NewsHub.com, “A roll of toilet paper is around 2 million bolívars, or $0.40, and for a 2-pound chicken costs around 14.6 million bolivars or just a little more than two dollars.” Bolivars are the currency of Venezuela and it is evidently clear that Venezuelans will not have that many bills of their currency to buy everyday products. As a result, economically it is known that today, more than 80 percent of Venezuelans are under serious poverty conditions, medicine is unavailable, and Venezuelans have lost an average of 19 pounds in weight since last year.
Furthermore, along with the economic and political crises, there is an environmental crisis in such a well-known country for its beautiful caribbean coast. It has the third-highest deforestation rate in South America, just below Brazil, and one of the world’s largest dams located in Venezuela flooded a massive forest and is right now being eroded by tons of dirt as a result. Other issues include sewage, oil, and urban pollution, in many famous Venezuelan lakes as well as deforestation, urban and industrial pollution, especially along the Caribbean coast. Given the economic crisis, as a result of the political crisis in Venezuela, the cities in Venezuela are becoming extremely dirty and prone to many diseases that can negatively affect the health of humans there, and potentially the animals as well. Although this may tie back to the economic crisis in Venezuela, the environmental crisis is leading to a decline in the rates of tourism, which contributes to the revenue Venezuela receives. All of my family would always describe the beaches of Venezuela as the best in the world, where it doesn’t even compare to the experiences they have had in Florida. However, even though the whole world is undergoing environmental crises, the political and economic effects collectively harms anyone’s desire to visit the country by a long shot. It would make sense that a country with so much potential given its oil capacity would spark international interest and a need to acquire more oil.
In conclusion, today I have informed you of the economic, political, and environmental issues it has today. It is sad to see how this country is often disregarded by the media and is something that many Americans don’t know about. After hearing this speech, you can now have an idea on the detrimental effects of government corruption on its people. Thank you for listening.