Venezuela For Dummies – Part I

August 16, 2017


Hi! These series of articles are for you. Yes, for you who have read and watched news about Venezuela the last four months (or more); for you who do not understand how people are dying for no food nor medicine in one of the wealthiest countries in the world; for you who is from a first world country.


First, I want to apologize because you will find some grammar issues in this article. I promise by the time they will be less. Let’s start.

The last four months, Venezuela is part of breaking news for:


-154 people killed.
-A thousand people in prison.
-Four months full of violent protests.
-Political prisoners going home and going back to jail.
-President Trump, VP Pence, Pope Francisco or First Minister Justin Trudeau talking about Venezuela.
-Diosdado Cabello wants to kill Marco Rubio.
-An election which was cheated for at least one million votes


The craziest part, Venezuelan government acts like nothing is happening; nevertheless, it is planning to quit.


You are confused; of course, you are.


How could all these happen?


These started many years ago (no, this is not a history class) by Hugo Chavez; he is the real author of this chaos. He chose Nicolas Maduro as his successor. No, Venezuela is not a monarchy; democracy is part of Venezuelan lives since 1958, but with Chavez everything was possible.


In 2012, Chavez won presidential elections for the fourth time since 1999; however, he had cancer, and his life was in danger. The presidential campaign took him most of his health. He was a prideful man; he preferred to die than to lose. In December that year, before he traveled to Cuba (I know, I need to explain this part later), the country watched him for last time. He asked people to vote for Nicolas Maduro -who was the VP- in case he never would come back.


Chavez officially died on March 5, 2013. A month later, Maduro won presidential elections with a tiny margin (most of the people think he cheated the polls, but they cannot prove it). This answer the question: why is Nicolas Maduro president of Venezuela (or any nation)?


Why Chavez?


Now, I should answer why Chavez won 1998 presidential elections. Spoilers alert: this part is more complicated.

Venezuela was a poor colony of the Spanish Empire. At the beginning of 18 century, Simon Bolivar (this name is important) and some more man, based on French Revolution ideas, decided to become independent Venezuela. The result: a century of hungry and civil war.


In 1908, a dictatorship (his name is not important) achieved peace in the country (using violence, killing thousands of people and arresting other thousands). Also, it is during his government when Venezuela became a powerful oil country. Then, like the protagonist of a soap opera, we started this story being poor, and the good luck made us millionaires.


The twentieth century was complicated; we tried to be democratic many times; only after 1958, we could have a real democracy. At this point, we were rich, and we had a legitimate government, but we screw up. We did not know how to use this money to make Venezuela a better place. We allowed corruption, injustice, and indifference.


There is when Hugo Chavez made his first appearance. In 1992, everybody was tired of bipartidism; we did not have as much money as years ago, and the poverty increased. We dreamed with the times of our last dictatorship where “we had better lives” (it was not true), and we thought that a military man would have the solutions to all our problems.


Chavez tried to overthrow the government by a military coup. The worst? We thought it was a good idea. He failed in this mission, and he went to jail; however, the half of the country dreamed with him. He could leave the prison and start a political party. In 1998, he ran for the presidency.


Why did he win?


The other two major candidates were a Miss Universe and a man who was the same kind of politician that everybody was tired of.
Chavez had the gifts of the word and the charisma.
He said that everybody wanted to hear: he was going to destroy corruption, poverty, and social problems.
He used himself as an example of a poor person. He persuaded people that he was like them. The fault of the lack of money was rich people (people believed in that).


He won the elections, and the hell started.


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