In recent weeks, the South American nation of Venezuela has been embroiled in a conflict that’s spilled onto the streets. As citizens become increasingly vocal in their protests and their attempts to effect social change, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is staring down the barrel of a potentially violent end to his brutal regime. In short, things in Venezuela are headed south and the odds aren’t very good things will get better before it gets worse. But how did the nation get to this point? Is someone to blame? And is there any way to solve the problem before a calamity occurs?
1. Let’s Start with Why This Is Partly OPEC’s Fault
Up until recently, Venezuela wasn’t doing too bad (or at least it’s upper class wasn’t doing too bad) thanks to its vast oil reserves. As a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), there was always a steady influx of cash into the country. Then, OPEC produced too much oil and gas and the prices plummeted internationally. At that point, Venezuela — along with the rest of OPEC’s members — decided to cut production of oil in order to clear the glut. That would have worked, if the leadership of the United States had played along, but they didn’t. While OPEC cut their production, the US ramped up their production, thereby further increasing the excess supply of oil in the world. What does this all mean for Venezuela? Well …
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