Under Nicolás Maduro, a country that had been one of Latin America’s wealthiest is having its democratic institutions shredded amid rising poverty and corruption.
WSJ BY DAVID LUHNOW AND JOSÉ DE CÓRDOBA
Venezuela is seeing its democratic institutions collapse, leading to levels of disease, hunger and dysfunction more often seen in war-torn nations than oil-rich ones. By year’s end, Venezuela’s economy will have shrunk by nearly a third in the past four years—a plunge similar to Cuba’s after the fall of the Soviet Union, and one rarely seen outside of conflict zones. In a nation estimated to be sitting on as much oil as Saudi Arabia, inflation was estimated by the International Monetary Fund at 720% this year; and it is expected to surpass 2,000% next year. Shortages are so acute that three out of four Venezuelans lost an average of 18 pounds last year, according to a survey by Venezuelan universities. Diseases not seen there in decades, such as malaria, are back.