In 2001 Venezuela was the richest nation in South America largely on the back of its oil production. It boasts the largest oil reserves in the world and for a period it was a shining example of what some would call socialism, others would call democratic socialism, others would call a government taking care of its people, others would call a government covering corruption and nepotism, and others would call a nation headed for disaster. And while in some form or another all of those people would be right, it can’t be denied that the country had cut its poverty in half, raised its literacy rates, raised the quality of life for its people, and in general was a better nation than it had been.
All of that is a far cry from where the country is now. A country that has seen more than 3 million of its 30 million people fleeing as refugees. A country with an inflation level currently at 2.6 million percent (and expected to reach 10 million percent at some point this year if things continue). A country that has had to change its currency 3 times in the last 10 years to combat inflation. Which you’d have to do if a 99 cent pack of gum all of a sudden cost $25,000 which is roughly what 2.6 million percent inflation looks like (for further reference, imagine that same $1 pack of gum costing $100,000 and you are now thinking about 10 million percent inflation). A country that has 2 presidents fighting for power and has become another staging ground for the ongoing standoffs between China, the US, and Russia. In 2017 some sources say that the average Venezuelan lost 24 pounds of body weight and 90% of the people live in poverty. On this episode of lessons from the screen we are going to be talking Venezuela, how did we get here, and what can we learn from it.
Sources (not all sources used were listed):
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