When Hugo Chavez took over as the president of Venezuela in 1998, the country was facing challenging economic issues. Chavez was able to unite the country thanks to the largest oil reserves in the world. Venezuela was basking in oil and the wealth that comes with that oil. The country was well on its way to becoming one of the most successful modern-day socialist countries on the planet. Chavez gave the people hope by establishing social programs. But Chavez wasn’t afraid to spend money he didn’t have because the world needed what he was selling and he had plenty of it.
When Chavez finally met his maker in March 2013, he gave the keys to his office to Nicolas Maduro. Maduro isn’t the social reformer or a smart politician. So when the economy started to fall apart when oil prices hit rock bottom, Maduro put his own socialist plan together. But the Maduro plan is not about Chavez socialism. Maduro’s government is more authoritarian and military in nature. Instead of reaching out and getting help from other countries, Maduro decided to bash the United States and its allies, as well as confiscate farms, businesses, and retail stores so he could have complete control.
Maduro’s Venezuela is experiencing the largest recession in modern times. The International Monetary Fund predicts the country’s economy will contract by 15 percent in 2018. And inflation will hit 13,000 percent. No one is sure what will happen next in Venezuela. There is a mass exodus going on. People are moving to Colombia, Brazil, and other South American countries. But Maduro is standing strong, and the world is shaking its head in disbelief.