Home news Venezuela: Five numbers explaining the Venezuelan crisis

Venezuela: Five numbers explaining the Venezuelan crisis

Venezuela's President Juan Guaidó has appointed himself as interim president and calls for re-election by incumbent Nicolás Maduro. The past presidential election he calls unlawful. Several Latin American countries as well as the USA, Canada and some EU countries like Germany recognized Guaidó. China, Russia and Cuba stick to Maduro.

The Oil-rich Venezuela is in a political and economic crisis. The supply problems have been going on for some years, the country is politically divided. Hundreds of thousands, especially the poorer people, call themselves "Chavistas" in the style of Hugo Chávez, who took power in 1999 and proclaimed "21st century socialism". Before he died in 2013, he named his successor Maduro. But the support for this is crumbling – also because of the economic misery.

The more conservative opposition, divided on many issues, sees its chance at seizing power. On the streets protest students and men and women from the middle and upper classes, but increasingly poorer people against Maduro. At the same time, hundreds of thousands solidarize with the socialists.

1370000 percent

inflation rate

The International Monetary Fund calculated last year for Venezuela

The inflation rate calculated by the International Monetary Fund for Venezuela in 2018 is quite unique compared to all other countries worldwide. In most countries, it is single-digit, in some troubled states it reaches values ​​of 20 to 30 percent, such as in Libya or Iran or even 90 as in South Sudan. In Venezuela the IMF calculated 1.37 million per cent for the past year, the current figure is said to be ten million.

From the inflation rate can hardly be calculated, how much more expensive
 Bread, milk or diapers for the Venezuelans
have become real. The value of the currency Bolívar can change every hour. For most people, it does not matter what indexes indicate, but whether they get something for the bills and how much a dealer specifically demands on the road. This may differ from street to street.

The number expresses how bad the situation is for the people in the country. Many find it difficult to organize a meal, and medical care has also collapsed in some places. With the actual currency of the country, which you get paid for example as a wage, you can hardly pay anything if it is not subsidized and therefore expensive for the state. People are dependent on the black market, some are starving. For companies too, inflation is a problem, especially when they have to shop abroad.

The government of Nicolás Maduro has been trying to stop inflation – from removing a few zeros to introducing a digital currency – but has not gotten it under control.

5037445031 Billion Bolivares

foreign debt

Expects the International Monetary Fund for Venezuela this year

Mathematicians would present Venezuela's external debt in local currency for the sake of simplicity: 5.037445e + 18. Even non-mathematicians understand that this is very much and difficult to remove. The high number also has to do with the collapse of the national currency Bolívar, which is completely devalued compared to other currencies. In terms of gross domestic product, the debt, according to the IMF, is just over 162 percent this year, twice as high as in Germany.

Maduro himself was abroad several times to collect new money and to maintain the state enterprise. He has borrowed most of his money in China and Russia, but rights have been assigned to the still-to-be-funded oil. The two countries can not be interested in a regime change, if only the possibility exists that repayments then fail.

Venezuela has long acted as a financier of leftist movements, especially in Latin America. For example, there are close links with Cuba, which has sent doctors in return for oil deliveries.



from Venezuela was the UNHCR

The miserable situation has many Venezuelans from the
Land driven. How many exactly, can not say, the UN refugee agency is estimated at three million. In some
Neighboring countries like Brazil attacked locals
the refugees
who often live in camps on the border. There were riots between the arrivals and the local population at several border towns, Brazil sent military. Peru and Ecuador tightened the entry requirements.

 A few years ago, people were more likely to come to Venezuela. Especially from Colombia, many people fled from violence and poverty in the
socialist neighbor. Since the Venezuelan capital one of the
has the highest murder rates in the world and the supply of
Food and medicine has collapsed in many places
many of the around 30 million Venezuelans go abroad. Among them are many well-educated people who are now lacking the economy.

1137000 barrel

Crude oil production per day

reports OPEC from Venezuela

Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserves of the OPEC countries. However, the production has been decreasing for years, ten years ago, according to Opec, it was just over 2.3 million barrels a day. At the end of 2018, only Iran had to accept a stronger decline in oil production among the member countries of the organization (OPEC report pdf), which is sanctioned.

Venezuela barely manages to finance necessary repairs to facilities and invest in new drilling, skilled workers are leaving the country. In addition, the price of crude oil has fallen sharply. So broke the main source of income of the country, oil accounts for about 95 percent of exports.

When Hugo Chávez took power in 1999, he led the revenue from the oil business more of the ordinary population. However, the money was never invested in building the economy or cutting-edge science and technology. Much of it flowed into consumer goods, often to supporters and supporters of the President. The oil-financed imports have also contributed to stifling domestic production. Reports that a large part of the revenue of the state-owned oil company PDVSA disappear in the pockets of management, there was before Chávez. Employees were repeatedly arrested for corruption, including in the United States.

The linkages between the US and Venezuela in the area are tight: much of the comparatively tarry Venezuelan oil is exported to the US, where it is processed in specialized refineries. From there it goes to the world market. Both countries have no interest in ending or expanding sanctions. Large oil companies want a more entrepreneur-friendly Venezuelan government than the Maduros, Chevron recently invested in Venezuela.

At the same time, Russia and China are securing access to Venezuelan oil. In recent years, they have lent billions, mostly in exchange for future oil supplies.



is in the Venezuelan military

According to the Latin American Defense Network, the Venezuelan military has over 365,000 soldiers – and as many armed forces as the regional power of Brazil, where nearly seven times more people live. US President Donald Trump has not explicitly ruled out military intervention in Venezuela, including Russia warned against such a plan.

Despite the shortage of funds, Venezuela invested in the military. One reason for this is the political power of the generals: There are supposed to be a total of 2,000 in the meantime, according to Latin American and US media. For comparison, in the US, the number of high military is limited to about 660.

Many of the Venezuelan generals were said to have been personally appointed by Maduro. So far, a one-digit number has declared its support for Maduro's adversaries. Nine out of 32 ministerial posts continue to hold uniforms.

In recent years, active and former military took over key industries. The armed forces are to earn heavily in smuggling and drug trafficking. All this is no guarantee that they will be part of Maduro, but so far only a few officially turned away. Reports of attempts to overthrow have accumulated lately. It is questionable whether, in the event of a takeover, the military would pass the power back on to a civilian actor such as Juan Guaidó.


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