I always have difficulties understanding supposedly rich countries completely killing their own wealth. Venezuela is momentarily one of those countries. While having the largest oil reserves in the world, the Venezuelan economy lies in shambles and mass protests are now for 6 months ongoing; demanding the end of Maduro’s presidency. What went wrong in this country for the last three decades? Especially compared to the huge economic growth the Asian tigers (South-Korea/Singapore/Taiwain/Hong Kong) showed since the 1970. I even compare Venezuela to Somalia. Although this is a bit mean but necessarily for demonstrating my belief Venezuela is at the moment the poorest richest country of the world. Well done Nicolas Maduro.
In general all cultures, history, wealth, and power are mostly defined by geographical factors. Mountains, rivers, fertile area, mines, etc. are all bound by fixed locations. We as humans life, love, work and move around these opportunities or obstructions. In general the history of the world can very roughly divided by three lines representing human immigration. A horizontal line over Euroasia and two vertical lines, one over Africa and one over the American continent. The Eurasia continent lies almost complete in the moderate climate zone and has no harsh mountain ranges or jungles separating them. In comparison to the vertical lines over Africa and America, both continents know many obstacles in the form of mountains, jungle and climate zones. Cross fertilisation of cultures has given the Eurasian people much better terms in regard to preserving knowledge and culture for future generations. Innovation could spread and would not get lost easily as other nations and cultures took over smart ideas and innovations, helping to form the Renaissance, Enlightenment and following industrial revolutions.
Since we can fly and can cure most of the diseases, these figural horizontal and vertical lines are becoming of less importance. International relation on a grand scale has also become truly grand scale with more than 150 nations being presented in the United Nations. Cross fertilisation of ideas and culture is now happening via many new ways. Still geography is of paramount importance, oil fields, mountains and rivers are not easy to relocate.
When we look from a historical perspective at Venezuela and Somalia, 5 factors are of importance for leading a nation towards prosperity and wealth. These are reasonable leadership, decent education and infrastructure, freedom of capital and speech and a fair law abiding court. Al five of them are absent in Somalia, in Venezuela these 5 focus points have been largely neglected.
To start with the comparison most subjective, reasonable/good leadership. To sum up, in a very simple way, the possible outcomes of leadership are: 1. Good leadership results in good policies 2. Good leadership results in bad policies 3. Bad leadership results in bad policies 4. Bad leadership results in good policies (very improbable). Somalia has the problem there is no effective leadership, many different groups have asserted power over different regions in Somalia, making national control impossible. In essence the leadership in Somalia is bad because of it’s absence.
Looking at Venezuela we see a country on the rim of civil war. Populistic policies has hammered down economical opportunity for decades. Bad leadership has simply led to bad policies. There is a correlation between low education and stupid harmful populistic policies. The success of any constructive democracy depends largely on education and the levels of reasoning. An eye for an eye is not exactly modern day reasoning. Where Somalia glided completely back to the middle ages with the reintroduction of the Sharia, in Venezuela low education levels led to the rise of populistic governments in the name of social justice.
Maduro’s socialistic policies are unrealistic and direct lies to the Venezuelan people. Not in any country or history, has overly socialistic governmental policies lead to economical prosperity and general wealth. Quite ironical, socialistic movement pur sang has created much unaccounted misery among humans. Ask how proud the Russians are about their communistic past. If Maduro wants to be truly helpful to his people, maybe Maduro should have had a look at the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global. There are better and smarter ways for sharing the national resources among the Venezuelan people.
But that’s the thing, Maduro only cares about his fat arse on his throne. Instead of investing in education, infrastructure, capital infrastructure and a fair ruling system, the Venezuelan socialistic governments have squandered billions of oil dollars on naive, utopian populistic ideas. All in the so called name of social justice, shamefully it was and is all about buying off the electorate with stupid and empty promises. Power corrupts and people give it away to easily. I hate to see history repeat.
The conclusion is only that the recent mass protests and economic downfall are the result of bad policies and bad leadership. Maduro likes to blame the international world, mostly the United States, by saying Venezuela is getting economically strangled. Only, the simple truth is that superstar Nicolas Madura thought oil prices would stay around 100$ a barrel and this didn’t happen, which serves Maduro right.
To get back at the title of this opinion article. The big difference between Somalia and Venezuela is the potential for wealth and prosperity Venezuela has. Venezuela has 300 billion barrels of oil in reserve! The eduction levels and infrastructure are decent, there is a working capital and law system and the economy should perform good without all the stupid utopian policies. Especially when Maduro and consortium are gone for good of the political stage (preferable behind bars). I am no big fan of Trump, but a Panama style invasion I wouldn’t mind.
Venezuela is a beautiful country, it’s rich in nature, resources and culture. Venezuela should have been an example for the world, a tiger of the Latin world, not a Somalia of the western world. La gente de Venezuela, por favor retoma tu país y el futuro. No más, revuelta, Maduro debe irse!