A state of emergency was declared on Monday, by a decree, published in the government gazette, which will give President Nicolas Maduro and his government and security forces the authorization to ignore most constitutional safeguards in a bid to keep order and supply basic services.
Despite its oil reserves, Venezuela has long had a severe energy crisis that’s only gotten worse. Countries like the United States produce oil and natural gases like propane, which 60 million Americans rely on; Venezuela also possesses these natural resources, but the country’s economic system makes it difficult to profit from them.
Although Venezuela’s electricity has come mostly from hydroelectric dams, a prolonged drought has made electricity itself very scarce. Previous attempts at dealing with the shortage included giving government workers an extra day off every week.
Venezuela’s army, backed up by civilians grouped into ancillary security groups, will tackle food shortages and public unrest. However, already opposition is seeking Maduro’s resignation.
Last week, soldiers and police officers used tear gas to break up riots from the opposition, which controls the national assembly. These developments are seen as a further threat to the already teetering oil-rich country.
In the official decree, Maduro makes security a priority, meant to fend off “destabilizing actions that mean to disrupt life inside the country or its international relations.”
If they have links with foreign entities, all individuals, companies, or nongovernmental organizations in Venezuela will be subject to scrutiny, and their finances frozen if deemed necessary
Attempts to ward off the energy crisis have been under way — the Economy Vice President Miguel Perez said that the country had reached a deal with China, which is Venezuela’s main financier, to improve the terms of an oil-for-loan deal.
Apparently, all the conditions had been improved — including loan time frames, investment amounts, and other non-financial aspects. “Today we can say that we’ve agreed to new commercial conditions that are adapted to the country’s reality,” he said in an interview.