Note of the Month January 2019

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Note of the Month January 2019

The future of Venezuela and its relations with US and Turkey


It is now a well known fact that during the Chavez period (2002-2013) together with the high oil prices around the world, Venezuela found a momentum in its economy. During the same period Chavez acted as the number one rival of the US and supported by a big percentage of the Venezuelan people. Although corruption was always a major issue in Venezuelan political life and bureaucracy, Chavez tried to reflect a big portion of the nation’s oil income to the public.

During that period most of the fundamental needs were supplied to the public by a heavy subvention of the state. Gasoline was much cheaper than water, meat, butter, sugar; all types of fruits and vegetables were really cheap and could be bought easily by most of the people. Alcohol was also very cheap and Venezuelans were spending their time at the beaches at weekends. Roads to the beaches were under heavy traffic for the most of the weekends. In short, most of the Venezuelan people were happy.

Unfortunately that cheap supply of goods and the easy way of living made the Venezuelans lazier and production at all sectors began to decrease. Following the decrease of world oil prices and the death of Chavez, Venezuela became a very problematic country. Today a substantial percentage of Venezuelans have left the country hoping to find jobs at neighboring countries, the crime rate is number one in the world and people feel very unhappy as they have difficulties to find goods at markets and they live with a fear of staying hungry.

The solution for that crisis might be to send the Maduro from the office and bring Guaido to the power. If that happens the first task of Guaido seems very clear; to invite the US to invest in Venezuela. Of course this is the thing what US want and tries to achieve for a very long time. Chavez and Maduro could be considered as a failure but one thing they have succeeded during that period is not giving their oil fields under the control of US. The people of Venezuela know that too and half of the population hates US and support Maduro in this respect. Besides, directly intervening to other nation’s internal matters can be problematic for the people of that nation.

Current situation shows that the western world gives support to Guaido and wants Maduro to leave the office. However, Russia, China, Turkey and some other countries support Maduro. All have their reasons to support him. During the Chavez period Venezuela has started several projects for the good of the people. One of those projects was the living houses project – mision de vivienda – and the projects were given to the four socialist countries, namely; Russia, China, Iran and Belarus. All those countries were actively constructing tens of thousands of living houses until very recently and they were paid by oil by Venezuelan government. During this period US could not get anything from Venezuela and for a country who claims to be the leader of the world, this was an unacceptable situation. Now the US has found the opportunity to reverse the situation and it seems it will get what it wants; the rich oil fields of Venezuela. One can only hope that there will not be big fights and serious tragedies in coming days.

Turkey on the other hand has somehow involved with the situation and became a party at this conflict. Until 2018, trade volume between Turkey and Venezuela was around 100 million USD and just a couple of Turkish construction companies were doing business in Venezuela. However, in 2018 Maduro decided to use Turkey to process and sell some of its gold production. Turkey has accepted this offer and in 2018 the trade volume suddenly boosted to over 1 billion USD.

It seems Venezuela will stay in conflict and in difficult economic situation until Maduro leaves his office and it is clear that he will use all his power not to leave the office and not let the US control the country.

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