The demonstrations in Caracas are ostensibly against the President, Nicolas Maduro, who took over after the sad early demise of Hugo Chavez, who the people trusted very much. Yet, I would surmise they should have all reason to trust Nicolas Maduro, who was handpicked and tutored for this job by Hugo Chavez.
The huge crowds, mothers with babes in arms, not able to find milk for their infants, is a terrible sign of something that has gone wrong for their economy. These people who were at one time able to import everything they needed are today looking at empty supermarkets. The fall in the Oil price over the last two years has reduced their income a great deal, the nation relying on Oil for ninety percent of their revenue. Their are other factors of course, such as fall in exchange rate of their currency (bolivar); but the fall in GDP has been severe, falling several percentage points in each of 2014 and 2015 and on a downward course for 2016 it can be presumed. Their Oil revenues and reserves have been so decimated that it seems they have problems being able to get any imports. And while their has been a huge Oil glut, there would seem to be few takers for their Oil; it may be a blessing for them that the Oil price has stabilised and is moving upwards, and hopefully they shall be able to import essential food products at least from nations who are friendly towards them. For the sake of the people who seem so frustrated at the lack of food supplies, I pray that can be as soon as is practicable. Can you just imagine children starving in a once wealthy nation, today not able to find milk, rusks, baby food? Not to mention the main staple foods which people need.
It all boils down to an economic breakdown. The fall in GDP over the last few years, due mostly to the severe drop in commodity prices, especially Oil, which as I mention is their main export, has eaten away their reserves. Now their only hope can be perhaps the International Monetary Fund offering them some loan to tide them over for the meantime, and also perhaps some barter deals with other nations to obtain food and other essentials in exchange for Oil supplies in the future. Of course, if any wealthy nations are able to donate food, I imagine the Venezuelan people would gladly receive that. The whole dire picture of people almost witless, rallying against the person in charge, Senhor Maduro, as if he could have controlled their economic environment.
But I look at Venezuela as an example of the unfolding picture of what is likely to mirror in other Oil exporting nations. Figures I saw recently suggest troubles ahead for many OPEC nations, especially those who have used up their reserves or taken loans from external sources. A lot of those economies will be having lower GDP numbers this time, and may experience similar problems. I suggest they should negotiate some credit and continuation of trade with friendly nations to soften the blow.
For the moment, I pray that Mr Maduro will speak to ambassadors of the various nations who trade with Venezuela, and see what co-operation they can offer Venezuela, in providing food and other essentials as a matter of urgency and compassion.
God-willing, the OPEC nations will have come to their senses and will now impose some quota restrictions on nations that were producing the maximum without care for others, and at the same time allow the other nations who have been absent for the meantime to regain some of their own share as previously. There has to be great co-operation and understanding between the OPEC nations, so they could achieve a price stability and fairness for all the Oil producing nations.
Further, now that the commodity prices seem to have hit bottom I pray that all nations will start their various infrastructure and industrial production, so that there can be good trade for all nations.
With good trade, God will prosper every nation. Indeed, our Heavenly Father and Mother Nature have already given everything to humankind, to harvest the crops, raise the livestock and the fish, extract and craft the minerals, milk the cows, bottle the water and send to where it's needed most, etc, It is only up to human agency to print and distribute money equitably, and facilitate the exchange of goods.
If we human beings do our duty, we will all be helping the happiness of other fellow human beings, and in turn enhancing our own survival. As I say, God has already done His duty together with Mother Nature in creating enormous resources in all nations. It is now upto every one of us to do what would be right. If there is faith and trust amongst us all, and compassion in our hearts, hopefully the world will rise to helping Venezuela at this hour of their need.
Durudarshan H. Dadlani
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