How did things get so bad in Venezuela? - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

How did things get so bad in Venezuela?

picture by ARIANA CUBILLOS picture by ARIANA CUBILLOS
  • Fox 29 Daily HeadlinesMore>>

  • Students begin school walkouts on Columbine anniversary

    Students begin school walkouts on Columbine anniversary

    Friday, April 20 2018 12:26 AM EDT2018-04-20 04:26:49 GMT
    Friday, April 20 2018 12:27 PM EDT2018-04-20 16:27:58 GMT
    (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File). FILE - In this March 14, 2018 file photo, young demonstrators hold a rally in front of the White House in Washington. Another wave of school walkouts is expected as students honor victims of gun violence and push for gu...(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File). FILE - In this March 14, 2018 file photo, young demonstrators hold a rally in front of the White House in Washington. Another wave of school walkouts is expected as students honor victims of gun violence and push for gu...

    Another wave of school walkouts is expected as students honor victims of gun violence and push for gun control.

    More >>

    Another wave of school walkouts is expected as students honor victims of gun violence and push for gun control.

    More >>
  • Facebook adds privacy settings to comply with European rules

    Facebook adds privacy settings to comply with European rules

    Wednesday, April 18 2018 5:33 AM EDT2018-04-18 09:33:47 GMT
    Friday, April 20 2018 12:09 PM EDT2018-04-20 16:09:20 GMT
    (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File). FILE - In this May 16, 2012, file photo, the Facebook logo is displayed on an iPad in Philadelphia. A propaganda expert who has studied Cambridge Analytica says the company helped Donald Trump’s presidential campaign use f...(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File). FILE - In this May 16, 2012, file photo, the Facebook logo is displayed on an iPad in Philadelphia. A propaganda expert who has studied Cambridge Analytica says the company helped Donald Trump’s presidential campaign use f...
    Facebook is introducing more privacy safeguards to users in Europe to comply with new rules meant to make it easier for consumers to give and withdraw consent for the use of their data.More >>
    Facebook is introducing more privacy safeguards to users in Europe to comply with new rules meant to make it easier for consumers to give and withdraw consent for the use of their data.More >>
  • UPDATE: Everything you need to know about Arizona's teacher walkout

    UPDATE: Everything you need to know about Arizona's teacher walkout

    Friday, April 20 2018 8:42 AM EDT2018-04-20 12:42:18 GMT
    Arizona teachers could be staging a strike, which may leave tens of thousands of parents scrambling. (Source: Raycom Media)Arizona teachers could be staging a strike, which may leave tens of thousands of parents scrambling. (Source: Raycom Media)

    One thing is certain, tens of thousands of parents will be forced to scramble to find out what to do if enough teachers walk out.

    More >>

    One thing is certain, tens of thousands of parents will be forced to scramble to find out what to do if enough teachers walk out.

    More >>

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- After years of steady economic decline, Venezuela is in the grips of the deepest crisis of its recent history. The streets of Caracas are awash almost daily in tear gas, neighboring governments are issuing increasingly stern condemnations and President Nicolas Maduro just called for the re-writing of the country's constitution. How did a country once seen as a model for left-wing movements get here, and what comes next?

Here are the latest developments and background on the turmoil:

---

THE LATEST

Venezuelans have been on the streets nearly every day for a month to protest the Maduro administration and demanding immediate elections. The protests were kicked off by a Supreme Court decision gutting the opposition-held Congress. That decision was quickly rolled back, but people have stayed in the streets to vent their anger over violent crime, crushing shortages and an economy in shambles. The unrest has left at least 29 dead in the past month. On Monday, Maduro said he would convene an assembly to rewrite the constitution and "restore peace."

---

THE BACKGROUND

For many years, elites controlled Venezuelan politics and the poor had little voice. The late President Hugo Chavez won election in 1998 as a political outsider promising to upset the old order and funnel more of the country's enormous oil wealth to the poor. Poverty rates fell sharply during his administration, and many people continue to see him him as a beloved Robin Hood figure who gave them houses, free health care, better education and a place at the table in government.

---

OIL BOOM AND BUST

Chavez was helped by the fact that when he took over the presidency, oil was trading at about $10 a barrel, and when he died in 2013, it had risen to $100. Venezuela derives 95 percent of its export earnings from oil.

Shortly after Chavez's death, the price of oil fell by half. That's left his hand-picked successor Maduro struggling. The economy is forecast to sink 8 percent this year and the International Monetary Fund forecasts inflation will soar to four digits next year. The plunge in world oil prices has left the government owing money across the board, from foreign airlines to oil service companies. Most of the anti-poverty gains made under Chavez have been erased and people are grappling with severe food and medicine shortages.

---

WHAT NOW?

Opponents say Maduro's bid to call a constitutional convention is a ploy to put off elections that polls say it would lose. The government was supposed to hold regional elections last year, and a presidential contest in 2018. A constitutional rewrite process could delay elections for more than a year.

Venezuela's military historically has been the arbiter of political disputes and some in the opposition are encouraging it to step in. However, Chavez and Maduro have been skillful in winning over the top brass through patronage and powerful government jobs, and there is no outward sign of disgruntlement even at the junior levels. In fact, security forces have been the main force on the street repressing the daily protests.

The opposition is vowing to continue massive protests until the government makes concessions, and Maduro has committed himself to a massive restructuring of the country's political structure. Both sides seem to be settling in for a long fight.

---

Associated Press 2017

Powered by Frankly

1100 Banyan Blvd.
West Palm Beach, FL 33401

FCC Public File
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 Raycom Media. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.