Venezuela, officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, is a country on the northern coast of South America. Venezuela's territory covers around 916,445 square kilometres (353,841 sq mi) with an estimated population of approximately 29,100,000. Venezuela is considered a state with extremely high biodiversity, with habitats ranging from the Andes mountains in the west to the Amazon Basin rainforest in the south, via extensive llanos plains and Caribbean coast in the center and the Orinoco River Delta in the east. Venezuela was colonized by Spain in 1522 despite resistance from indigenous peoples. It became one of the first Spanish American colonies to declare independence (in 1811) but did not securely establish independence until 1821 (as a department of the federal republic of Gran Colombia, gaining full independence in 1830). Venezuela is a federal presidential republic consisting of 23 states, the Capital District (covering Caracas), and Federal Dependencies (covering Venezuela's offshore islands). Venezuela also claims all Guyanese territory west of the Essequibo River.
- Venezuela reaches the final stages of socialism: No toilet paper...
In 1990 I went to a Cato Institute conference in what was then still the Soviet Union. We were told to bring our own toilet paper, which was in fact useful advice. Now, after only 16 years of Chavista rule, Venezuela has demonstrated that 'Socialism of the 21st Century' is pretty much like socialism in the 20th century.
- David Boaz, "Venezuela Reaches the Final Stage of Socialism: No Toilet Paper" (5 April 2015), The Cato Institute
- Despite the Yankees, our gas is at the service of Venezuela first, and next to our brothers in the Caribbean.
- 2 million Venezuelans have left since 1999 when a socialist regime took power.
- Patrick Gillespie, "Thousands of Venezuelans fleeing to the US" (23 May 2017), CNN Money
- Venezuela has become a failed state. According to the International Monetary Fund's latest projections, it has the world's worst economic growth, worst inflation and ninth-worst unemployment rate right now. It also has the second-worst murder rate, and an infant mortality rate at public hospitals that's gotten 100 times worse itself the past four years. And in case all that wasn't bad enough, its currency, going by black market rates, has lost 99 percent of its value since the start of 2012. It's what you call a complete social and economic collapse. And it has happened despite the fact that Venezuela has the world's largest oil reserves. Never has a country that should have been so rich been so poor. There's no mystery here. Venezuela's government is to blame...
It's enough that Transparency International ranks Venezuela as the ninth-most corrupt country in the world. The only ones worse — Somalia, North Korea, Afghanistan, Sudan, South Sudan, Angola, Libya and Iraq — are a collection of rogue and war-torn nations. Venezuela is the answer to what would happen if an economically illiterate drug cartel took over a country. This corruption hasn't just enriched the few. It has also impoverished the many. That's because the government has tried to control the economy to the point of killing it — all, of course, in the name of 'socialism'...
Venezuela has gotten something worse than death. It has gotten hell. Its stores are empty, its hospitals don't have essential medicines, and it can't afford to keep the lights on.
- Matt O'Brien, "There has never been a country that should have been so rich but ended up this poor" (19 May 2016), The Washington Post
- Venezuela's product shortages have become so severe that some hotels in that country are asking guests to bring their own toilet paper and soap...
Venezuelan officials have been stopping people from transporting essential goods across the country in an effort to stem the flow of contraband...
Product shortages are not the only challenge for tourists in Venezuela. The socialist-run country also has South America’s highest murder rate, and an archaic foreign exchange system that essentially forces tourists to carry big wads of U.S. dollars with them to avoid the expensive rates that are charged by banks if they pay for things with credit cards or take money from an ATM.
- Manuel Rueda, "Venezuelan hotels are asking tourists to bring their own toilet paper" (2 April 2015), Fusion
- If one had to choose where to invest at the time, the smart money would have been on Venezuela. It had a small middle class and a great deal of poverty, but that was hardly unique in South and Central America. What set it apart was its vast oil reserves—more than any other country on earth—and its relative political stability. The current United Socialist Party government led by Nicolás Maduro, and formerly Hugo Chávez, could have done amazing things for the country with that vast oil wealth. Instead, the party has done its damndest to import Fidel Castro’s Cuban model of socialism— Chávez called Castro his mentor—and turn Venezuela into a totalitarian anthill. They never quite pulled it off, never quite managed to create a state powerful enough to smother every human being under its weight. Rather than molding Venezuelan society into a Stalinist Borg-hive, both—but Maduro especially—presided over a near-total collapse into anarchy, squalor and crime...
Violent crime has spread throughout the country, even to rural areas. Police officers don't even attempt to suppress or solve crime, partly because they’re too busy protecting the crooked and oppressive government from its furious subjects, but also because crime is as ubiquitous in Venezuela right now as the heat and humidity...
Venezuela looks hopeless...
Latin America veers far more wildly from the extreme left to the extreme right than the West does, but it’s not the Middle East. Every Latin American country so far except Cuba has reverted to democratic rule after a period of dictatorship. One way or another, Venezuela will get there eventually. Maduro isn’t at all likely to die in bed while in office like Chávez did in 2013. He’ll lose an election, the army will put him in jail, or he’ll be strung up, Mussolini-style, from a Caracas lamppost. Whenever it finally happens, though, that country will face a long dig-out.