by Thomas Valentine
The Washington Post has published a new photo essay that shows in heartbreaking detail how bad the crisis in Venezuela has become.
Venezuela was once one of the wealthiest countries in South America, with a strong economy built on the country’s abundant natural resources, especially oil. Its natural beauty brought in one million people and one billion dollars per year.
Dictatorial actions by former President Hugo Chavez and current disputed President Nicolas Maduro nationalized the nation’s oil industry and have plunged it into an economic crisis and turned Venezuela back into a third-world country. The national currency is worthless, most oil operations are dormant despite plenty of oil to be drilled, and the tourism industry is almost completely destroyed.
Perhaps surprisingly for the paper, the Post lays the blame squarely on the socialist policies implemented by Chavez and Maduro.
The essay illustrates how national parks and preserves that once attracted so many foreign tourists and their money are being torn apart by gold mining, which has become one of the few sources of meager income. It also shows that the country’s cities are without power, running out of water, and have little food.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons