venezuela protestor Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images

Waarom heeft Trump het geld van Venezuela aangenomen?

CAMBRIDGE – Er schuilt een zekere ironie in het recente nieuws dat Venezuela een half miljoen dollar heeft gedoneerd aan de presidentiële inhuldiging van Donald Trump via het staatsolieconcern Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA). Venezuela is immers een land dat de afgelopen twee eeuwen vaker bankroet is gegaan dan de meeste andere landen.

Onlangs wilde Venezuela's despotisch-socialistische regering zó wanhopig een nieuw bankroet vermijden (dat het elfde zou zijn geweest sinds de onafhankelijkheid van het land) dat het haar industriële kroonjuwelen, waaronder de olieraffinaderij Citgo in de VS, aan de Russen en de Chinezen heeft verhypothekeerd. (Het merk Citgo is vooral bekend in mijn woonplaats Boston, Massachusetts, waar het iconische logo van het bedrijf een baken is geworden in de omgeving van Fenway Park, waar het baseball-team van de Red Sox speelt.)

Het is niet helemaal duidelijk waarom de Venezolaanse president Nicolás Maduro zó wanhopig probeert te voorkomen dat zijn land in gebreke blijft bij de aflossing van zijn buitenlandse schulden dat hij zijn eigen volk laat verhongeren, op dezelfde manier waarop de Roemeense dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu dat deed in de jaren tachtig. Met zulke ernstige tekorten aan voedsel en basale medicijnen lijdt het weinig twijfel dat als en wanneer de autocraat eindelijk wordt afgezet, er een paar akelig bekende gruwelverhalen zullen opduiken.

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