How Venezuela’s crisis developed and drove out millions of people
With Maduro’s inauguration to another 6-year term, the entrenched problems in the Venezuelan economy and political system show no sign of radical adjustments. The hyperinflation, shortages, and declining oil production have been thrown around as signs and symptoms, but understanding how the crisis began and how it is continuing require a closer look. In summary, the country’s over reliance on oil, which accounted for around 95% of its export earnings, made the country highly vulnerable to market fluctuations. Thus, when prices declined sharply in 2014, Venezuela found itself with a shortage of foreign currency and an inability to import goods at previous levels. Prices increased around the country, the government printed more money and hiked wages. Inflation quickly followed. Since then, President Maduro has been re-elected in a contested election that many experts claim to be fraudulent, 3 million citizens have left the country (creating what may soon become the world’s largest refugee stream, overtaking Syria), and the crisis continues with no end in sight.