Venezuela: the “zero hour” is near

In our previous article we did discuss why the situation in Venezuela concerns non-Venezuelans as well.  Venezuela has the world`s largest oil reserves and one of the largest exporters of it is now in the deepest economic and political crisis.

It has been more than 4 months since the opposition and some activists took the streets of Caracas to protest against the latest decisions of the government. Almost one hundred people were killed and hundreds more injured. President Maduro is clearly not willing to give up the power and tries to cut all ways out for the opposition.

  • The main opposition leaders are banned to be elected next year and in jail
  • The state prosecutor, Luisa Ortega, was removed from her office and cannot now leave the country, while all her assets are frozen.
  • On July 30 a nationwide referendum takes place, where citizens will give an approval (or not) to reform the constitution and somewhat formalize the dictatorship of Mr.Maduro.

Together with these measures the president increases the minimum wage by 50% as of July 1,2017. Not many people feel difference, since the national currency in the course of past years denominated by 99%. You still think 50% is a lot?

Julio Borges, President of the National Assembly and deputy of the Venezuelan coalition of opposition parties (MUD), talks during a meeting of the Venezuelan coalition of opposition parties (MUD) in Caracas
Taken from: Reuters/Carlos Garcia

The opposition called for an alternative informal referendum for July 16, where people would express their opinion to reject (or not) the plan to rewrite the constitution and to remove Mr.Maduro from power prior to the upcoming presidential elections of next year. This alternative referendum may become the so-called “zero hour”, the consequences of which can be unpredictable.

We are not talking about the humanitarian catastrophe or a mass migration of Venezuelans. It goes behind that: we shall see the events in the country in light with the latest global political developments. China`s presence in the region is getting more evident (latest political ties with Panama), the Arab state`s policy against Qatar (one of the oil rich countries), revised “Cuba Policy” of Donald Trump`s administration and weakening Russian economy (which invested and literally bailed out Venezuela via Rosneft`s acquisitions). Once the regime in Venezuela becomes uncontrollable, then this may create a great forum for China to step in even more in the region and to bail out its socialist comrades, the Russians might follow the same pattern and the US will not just be observing this all.

Therefore, as soon as the “zero hour” comes (and it will come for sure, because the budget of Venezuela has just $10 bln. in its reserves), the big show will start. Economic bail out is a one-time action, while rebuilding the country is a lengthy process, but this is all incomparable with the sorrow that the relatives and friends of fallen people in the streets of Caracas would feel after all.

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