Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro declared a 60-day economic emergency for the country on Jan. 15, and it looks like the South American nation’s future is even more wobbly than ever.
As reported by the Latin Post and Wall Street Journal, Maduro made the announcement just before he delivered a state of the union address in which he primarily blamed the country’s collapse on lower oil revenues and other capitalist nations.
Maduro did, however, acknowledge that some changes need to be made.
Ever since the decline of crude oil prices — which is the overwhelming majority of Venezuela’s export market — the country has been experiencing widespread unemployment, poverty, and even starvation. As CNN reported, the oil-rich country experienced great economic success back in 2013 when the price of crude oil was $100 per barrel. Venezuela was bringing in around $75 billion in oil export revenues just two years ago; in 2016, it’s expected to bring in just $27 billion — and even that is a high prediction by some standards.
The country’s central bank recently released data on its national inflation rate for the first time in over a year; as of Sept. 2015, that data shows that the bolivar currency has experienced inflation of 141.5% in the past year. One year ago, one U.S. dollar equaled 175 bolivars (which was pretty substantial at the time, considering that the bolivar originally had a nearly equal exchange rate with U.S. currency). Right now, one U.S. dollar equals about 865 bolivars, meaning that one bolivar equals one-tenth of a U.S. penny.
Whereas Americans are battling an ever-growing $11.91 trillion of consumer debt, Venezuelans are struggling to purchase anything — economic shortages have emptied grocery store shelves, forced pharmacies to close their doors, and caused millions of Venezuelans to depend on the gruesome black market.
Although Maduro announced that the 60-day economic emergency would focus on new changes, he also stated that the socialist government’s current economic model was the main reason why any Venezuelans are still employed — which is something that many economists, and even many Venezuelans, disagree with.