Venezuela, A Little Paradise – Ainara Izaguirre, Venezuela

A country is no more than a determined space on earth, one geographical, political and cultural entity. In my opinion, Venezuela is one of the luckiest pieces of land, counting with an exuberant quantity of natural wonders, its people being characterized by a certain happiness and warmth.  Blessed the one who enjoys its beaches, sand dunes, mountains, rivers, lakes, forests and more the one who opens his/her eyes under its splendid sun for the first time. The enthusiasm of its youngsters and the work of its progenitors would make this place a perfect one.

Source: gnu.org.ve

How sad it is to think that this description currently represents an illusion. This country which could have everything instead is a country that has to fight for food, distances for politics, and dies for insecurity. Who would have thought that the destiny of arrival for hundreds of immigrants is now the place from where millions escape. With everything being attributed to a national policy that is conformist, lazy, spendthrift, totalitarian and with a terrible management. This took the nation to the ruins with the help of everyone who allowed the violation of laws, values and fundamental rights inherent to the human being.

The daily life in one of the world’s biggest oil powers sees how the inflation trebles, the fall of the economic reserves, scarcity of basic products, without having any kind of plan or effective strategy to economic restoration.

The Central Bank of Venezuela is responsible for developing monetary policy for the Venezuelan bolívar which is used as currency. The currency is primarily printed on paper and distributed throughout the country. According to the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal, Venezuela has the weakest property rights in the world, scoring only 5.0 on a scale of 100; expropriation without compensation is not uncommon. Venezuela has a mixed economy dominated by the petroleum sector, which accounts for roughly a third of GDP, around 80% of exports, and more than half of government revenues. GDP per capita in 2009 was US$13,000, ranking 85th in the world. Venezuela has the least expensive petrol in the world because the consumer price of petrol is heavily subsidized.

More than 60% of Venezuela’s international reserves is in gold, eight times more than the average for the region. Most of Venezuela’s gold held abroad is located in London. On November 25, 2011, the first of US$11 billion of repatriated gold bullion arrived in Caracas; Chávez called the repatriation of gold a “sovereign” step that will help protect the country’s foreign reserves from the turmoil in the U.S. and Europe. However, government policies quickly spent this returned gold and in 2013, the government was forced to add the dollar reserves of state owned companies to those of the national bank in order to reassure the international bond market.

Manufacturing contributed to 17% of GDP in 2006. Venezuela manufactures and exports heavy industry products such as steel, aluminium and cement, with production concentrated around Ciudad Guayana, near the Guri Dam, one of the largest in the world and the provider of about three-quarters of Venezuela’s electricity. Other notable manufacturing includes electronics and automobiles, as well as beverages, and foodstuffs. Agriculture in Venezuela accounts for approximately 3% of GDP, 10% of the labor force, and at least a quarter of Venezuela’s land area. Venezuela exports rice, corn, fish, tropical fruit, coffee, beef, and pork. The country is not self-sufficient in most areas of agriculture. In 2012, total food consumption was over 26 million metric tonnes, a 94.8% increase from 2003.

Since the discovery of oil in the early 20th century, Venezuela has been one of the world’s leading exporters of oil, and it is a founding member of OPEC. Previously an underdeveloped exporter of agricultural commodities such as coffee and cocoa, oil quickly came to dominate exports and government revenues. The 1980s oil glut led to an external debt crisis and a long-running economic crisis, which saw an inflation peak at 100% in 1996 and poverty rates rise to 66% in 1995 as (by 1998) per capita GDP fell to the same level as 1963, down a third from its 1978 peak. The 1990s also saw Venezuela experience a major banking crisis in 1994. The recovery of oil prices after 2001 boosted the Venezuelan economy and facilitated social spending. In 2003, the government of Hugo Chávez implemented currency controls after capital flight lead to a devaluation of the currency. This lead to the development of a parallel market of dollars in the subsequent years with the official exchange rate less than a sixth of black market value. The fallout of the 2008 global financial crisis saw a renewed economic downturn.

Venezuela is ranked 28th out of 29 countries in the South and Central America/Caribbean region, and its overall score is far below the world and regional averages.

Over the past five years, economic freedom in Venezuela has been declining, primarily due to deteriorations in the management of government spending, labor freedom, business freedom, and investment freedom. Recording the fifth largest score drop of any country graded, Venezuela has registered its lowest economic freedom score ever in the 2015 Index.

Venezuela GDP Annual Growth Rate

Venezuela’s economic collapse has been preceded by blatant disregard for the basic foundations of the rule of law and limited government. The administration of Nicolás Maduro has pushed government finances to the brink, despite having some of the world’s largest petroleum reserves. Price controls and import barriers have expanded the informal sector. With monetary stability severely eroded by high inflation, the livelihood of the poor and middle class has deteriorated severely.

After having assessed and analyzed the economic surroundings, I introduce the following strategies or measurements that can be taken in account to perceive an improvement.

  • The State must stop the indiscriminate spendthrift of money that travels to other countries in shape of gifts, it’s necessary to make a priority list where will be indicated the aspects that will have a monetary inversion and the ones who will be revoke from it.
  • The State must generate a safe environment to allow the development of tourism, because this activity produces a margin of winnings very wide, carrying out journeys of cleaning in every touristic attraction, additionally the cities must be clean as well. Manage, so the best hotel chains offer its services in Venezuelan territory; also encourage the existent hotels to improve their service.

Furthermore, public transportation should be in optimal conditions so they can facilitate the movement of residents and visitants inside the nation. It is important to set up the airports in every state so it can be the principal touristic way. Moreover the advertising campaigns in social media would be an extra to increase the arrival of foreign.

  • Venezuela has a lot of fertile lands, which is why the promotion of agriculture, ranching, fish and poultry farming, is so important in all its ways and possible products with the objective of reduce the dependence to other countries and achieve the self-sufficiency. The studies of agronomy must be supported as well to encourage the students to attend the classes.

National lands also has a propitious number of minerals, stones, and oil that can and must be exploded for its commercialization, the inversion it is very important to start or progress the extraction and refining process for its subsequent sell and distribution worldwide, including the equipment needed.

  • The State should create a positive environment for small, medium and big companies (national and internationals), promoting the economy in a big scale, the entrance of money would turn active, letting the country recover in an economic field. This should happen without the Government expropriating the private sector, because it has been demonstrated that this entity has not the capacity to improve the business that has been confiscated from its owners.
  • The taxes are a high value source that must be used to install and improve the public infrastructure as schools, hospitals, markets, and all the roadways.

Finally it is important to establish that there are no plans or measurements that functions if the corruption stills current in the little paradise, Venezuela.

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