Venezuela was colonized by Spain in 1522 and became one of the first Spanish American colonies to declare independence in 1830.
The hero of Venezuela is Simon Bolivar July 1783 to December 17, 1830 known for liberating South America from Spanish rule. More on him at another time.
The natural resources of Venezuela include petroleum, natural gas, gold, bauxite, iron ore and hydroelectric power. Petroleum accounts for approximately 95 percent of the country’s exports.
By World War II Venezuela was one of the main exporters of oil. Under the rule of General Marcos Perez Jimenez in the 1950s, Venezuela had the biggest economic and development boom in its history. In 1976 Venezuelans traveled abroad just for the weekend and even the Concord came there. In the 50s, 60s and 70s, the Venezuelan economy was even better than that of Europe. It was known as “the capital of opportunities in South America.
The relationship between Venezuela and Jamaica goes back decades. Even to the time of noted Jamaican singer, songwriter and activist Harry Belafonte who sang about Matilda. “Matilda she tek mi money and gone Venezuela ?”
Being in such close proximity to Venezuela, Jamaica imported their oil and had very close diplomatic ties. Today that relationship is strained, fueled by the rogue actions of Maduro.
During the 80s and 90s however, the economy started to slow down. It was not as prosperous but people were still living a good life and it was still ranked among the best in South America.
Well known president, at least well known to Jamaica, Carlos Andres Perez ruled from 1974 to 1979 and again from 1989 to 1993. His first presidency was one of economic prosperity. However in his second term he got involved with the IMF which he later described as “a neutron bomb that killed people but left buildings standing.” (The IMF did a number on Argentina too but that’s another story). Poor economic conditions ensued. Gas went up costing the consumers and there were two coup attempts which led to states of emergencies. Perez was blamed for the economic downturn and in 1996 he spent 28 months in prison. In 1998 he was prosecuted again for embezzlement of public funds after secret joint bank accounts held with his mistress Cecilia Matos were discovered in New York. The people were fed up so along came Chavez.
Hugo Chavez came with the promise of freedom and equal opportunity for the people, ratifying a national referendum and abolishing Congress and the judiciary. He created a government of his own military cronies, adding leftist allies like Cuba and Russia and putting army colleagues in key positions. He won four elections, the last term January 2013 to March 2013 when he came down with cancer. He appointed Nicholas Maduro AN INEXPERIENCED BUSDRIVER to be his successor. Under Maduro the economy got even worse and many Venezuelans fled and are still fleeing the country in droves. Venezuela also has a border dispute with Guyana with hundreds of Venezuelans fleeing to that country. And now that Guyana has discovered a significant amount of oil who needs Venezuela?
At this time Venezuela’s light at the end of the tunnel, and it is indeed a long one, is 35 year old Juan Guaido President of the National Assembly of Venezuela and is recognized as the acting President of Venezuela by more than 50 governments. An engineer by profession, he now seems to be the only hope of Venezuela getting out of the quagmire of gross mismanagement and super inflation. He has boldly challenged Maduro and the military once fiercely loyal to Maduro, now seems to be slowly deflecting.
Time is not on the side of the Venezuelan people as they go without the very basic necessities of water, light and food, but they have a choice driven again by the military.
Go with the flow or resist.
Military. What say you?
Dorrette G. Young