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19/10/2018

Venezuela: Latin America’s socialist nightmare

Last year, four out of 10 Venezuelans had property or money stolen. Hardly surprising since Economic collapse & widespread shortage of goods in VenezuelaEconomic collapse & widespread shortage of goods in VenezuelaVenezuela was the least secure out of 144 nations, according to the most recent Gallup Law and Order Index.

Chaos in Venezuela is creating a power vacuum, pulling regional and global powers into the South American country. Brazil has long attempted to become the regional leader and to guide other South American countries into prosperity, but has failed to properly respond to the socialist threat. Instead, as German scholar Oliver Stuenkel argues, Brazil has become an enabler of Maduro’s government. Brazilian firm Odebrecht was recently convicted of bribing South American governments in return for construction contracts, according to the BBC. The U.K. broadcaster reported that the bribes totaled hundreds of millions of dollars and stretched from Mexico to Argentina. The pattern is consistent: Brazil would rather profit from Venezuela’s misfortune than to work toward a solution.

Since Venezuela adopted a socialist system in 1999, the number of people fleeing the country has totaled 4 million. Refugees continue to leave the country, placing strain on its neighbors, especially Columbia and Brazil. These countries are not prepared to provide the immediate care which the Venezuelan refugees need and are often not willing to allow them to integrate into society. Brazil has chosen to live comfortably with its socialist neighbor, instead of working to end Venezuela’s oppressive government.

As a result, the scope of the problem is now beyond Brazil’s resources. Stuenkel argues that Brazil’s influence over Venezuela has been surrendered to Russia and China. For instance, Russia and China have called for the United States to respect the results of the 2017 election and Russian banks have aided Venezuela in bypassing U.S. sanctions. Since they are Maduro’s last resort, China and Russia now have greater influence in the region ...

[ Full textNoah GouldNoah Gould

 The author of this report, Noah Gould, is currently a part of The Acton Institute's Emerging Leaders Program. This fall, he will be researching Political Economy under Kai Gehring at the University of Zurich.