Venezuela: Corruption, Oil Riches and Shortages of Basic Necessities


How can a country with the oil riches of Venezuela possibly have shortages of anything, let alone common household products? Could it be well-intentioned but poorly implemented mismanagement? Maybe, but I fear greed and corruption are more likely causes.

If you have read my blog at all you will no doubt have noticed that I like to point out the occasional juxtaposition. Often I illustrate those things that, when compared, don’t seem to add up. Or perhaps they not only add up, but are perfect mirror images.

An article in Upstream today heralds the signing of a US$38 million contract between a subsidiary of Kentz and the state-owned Venezuelan oil giant PDVSA – Kentz wins Venezuela contract.

Meanwhile an audio piece on the website of National Public Radio Venezuela In Turmoil For Lack Of Flour, Milk And Diapers details the daily struggle for basics, staples in a country that is finally starting to say enough is enough.

How can a country with the oil riches of Venezuela possibly have shortages of anything, let alone common household products? Could it be well-intentioned but poorly implemented mismanagement? Maybe, but I fear greed and corruption are more likely causes.

The governments of the late Hugo Chavez and Nicholas Maduro are essentially the same in that they talk a good game, but when it comes to delivering on promises they fall down. Great claims of socialism that are a mainstay of the President are debunked by a quick gander at Sweden or Norway, or even Canada, where socialist policies actually work. Venezuela’s leaders are more intent on maligning capitalism, and in particular the United States, than on providing basic needs to Venezuelans.

Venezuela
Image: Alejandro Cegarra/Associated Press

The ongoing daily marches and protests in the streets of Venezuelan cities, that are being pushed off the world news by the situation in Ukraine and by the missing Malaysian plane, indicate the people’s strong desire for change in their country. Too often the government turns on these protesters in a violent manner, sadly killing a number of protesting students. I hope the tenacity of these protesters can outlast the guns and tear gas of the government soldiers and real change can take place.

Godspeed Venezuela! Chévere!

Me DCMontreal is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and Freans and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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