venezuela flag protest Marcos del Mazo/LightRocket via Getty Image

How to End Venezuela’s Nightmare

Venezuela’s problems will not be solved without regime change. And that could – and should – happen after January 10, when the international community will no longer recognize the legitimacy of Nicolás Maduro's presidency.

CAMBRIDGE – Wishing a problem away is seldom an effective strategy. While the international community has had its attention focused on other issues, the Venezuelan catastrophe has deepened. If current trends continue, it will only get worse. 

A day’s work at the median wage now buys 1.7 eggs or a kilogram of yuca, the cheapest available calorie. A kilogram of local cheese costs 18 days of median-wage work; a kilo of meat costs almost a month, depending on the cut. Prices have been rising at hyperinflationary rates for 13 straight months and inflation is on track to surpass the 1,000,000% mark this month. Output continues to fall like a stone: OPEC reports that in October 2018, production was down 37% year on year, or almost 700,000 barrels a day.

According to Alianza Salud, a coalition of NGOs, new malaria cases in 2018 have shot up by a factor of 12 since 2012, bringing the total to more than 600,000, which is 54% of all cases in the Americas. Large swaths of Venezuela’s territory have been ceded to criminal organizations, including terrorist groups such as Colombia’s FARC and ELN, which collude with the National Guard in the production of gold and coltan, as well as in drug trafficking.

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