By Edmund Zhen
Published: February 6th, 2019
The socioeconomic and political turmoil in Venezuela has been a persistent dilemma that has devolved into a parasite, draining the efficiency and legitimacy of the government. In just two presidencies, incompetence, corruption, and mismanagement brought the once reputed country to its knees.
Unceasing inflation is preventing even the most basic economic progress for regular citizens. Currently, the state of Venezuela is teeming with riots, violence, and hungry people like never before. Prices of commodities are continuously soaring and sitting President Nicola Maduro is refusing to bow down to demands in relinquishing his power to the United States backed leader, Juan Guaido. With growing interest from global superpowers, the Venezuelan crisis has transcended all local and continental boundaries. As of now, President Maduro has found support from non-democratic countries such as China, Russia, Iran, and Syria who are accusing the US and its allies of staging a coup. The US and several European countries justify their interference by claiming that Maduro’s acquiring of power was illegitimate. But even if this dilemma is causing the destructions of the lives and livelihoods of Venezuelans, should we really be interfering?
Though some people see US intervention as an intrusion into Venezuela’s sovereignty, I believe that trying to keep our neighboring countries as politically similar to ours as possible is an important key to our national security. With our nemeses lending their support to Maduro, it is apparent that they are trying to persuade him to adhere to their influences and interests that would be used to combat us. One goal I suspect those countries are trying to get at is to obtain access to Venezuela’s oil reserves.
According to BBC, “Scientists working for the US Geological Survey say Venezuela’s Orinoco belt region holds twice as much petroleum as previously thought. Geologists estimate the area could yield more than 500bn barrels of crude oil.”
That said, BBC also estimated that Venezuela may have double the Saudi oil reserves which has one of the largest known oil reserves in the world. Without our intervention, there is a chance that those countries can use their gains to dominate global energy supplies for their own subversive interests, they might be actively trying to create footholds in our hemisphere or to threaten our national interests. But intervening won’t be easy. A majority of the Venezuelan military is still loyal to President Maduro, something that is unlikely to change soon.
It is also reported by Daily Mail that Maduro is being helped by 400 Russian military contractors, but Russia strongly denied this claim. As of now, we have limited our involvement in Venezuela to economic sanctions, which seem to be a fitting response at the moment. But despite its appropriate measures, I believe a flaw in this political decision further cripples the lives of the Venezuelan people. What we should’ve done before imposing sanctions was to communicate with the United Nations about setting up a sort of aid for the people and then we follow up with sanctions.
Though this is one thing we failed to do, I believe that Venezuelans are strong enough to continue fighting for change. In the past, we have many instances of being on the wrong side of history and supporting the wrong people. I believe that this is our opportunity to show the world that we are not who we used to be and is trying to bring genuine positive change to a very troubled region.