Corruption. A corrupted country is much like a corrupted person. The perversion of the country’s integrity can be felt and seen in all of it’s actions.
Venezuela, formally known as the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. If one were to type in “Venezuelan” into Google, the first result would be Venezuela Poodle Moths. However, there is a more pressing issue in Venezuela, one that is more important than it’s weird looking moth.
Venezuelan corruption, the government in Venezuela was ranked 158th out of 180 as recently as 2008. The corruption exists throughout all levels of government infrastructure, but the finger has primarily pointed at things like it’s judiciary systems, penitentiary systems, parliament, and police force. Bribery is heavily prevalent but that is fairly vanilla considering some of the other things that are happening. Government officials have been, and are still known to associate with the narcotic terrorist organization FARC, and members of the government have been accused of providing financial aid to terrorist organization, Hezbollah.
Tensions towards the Venezuelan government have been building for a while, and on March 15, 2014 they overflowed into Altamira square, in the city of Caracas.
Several hundred protesters, comprising of students and other political opposition took to Altamira square in an anti-government protest and immediately, the President Nicolas Maduro’s government responded with heavy force. Teargas and water cannons were pitted against stones and petrol bombs in a violent mixture which ended in the deaths of 28 protestors over the span of 6 weeks.
Riots and protests have yet to cease, with protesters seeing no effort made by Maduro’s government to address the plethora of issues that Venezuela is dealing with. Until major issues like the corruption, ridiculously high inflation rate and violence (just three things among the many existing ones) are addressed, the brewing pot of social unrest will most likely continue to brew. Instances like the riot in Altamira will only become more frequent and more lives will inevitably be sacrificed before any tangible solution occurs.
If one were to zoom out and take a macro perspective regarding social unrest, one would see an interesting trend. It’s becoming more of an occurring theme, to see an oppressed society rise up and shine a light on the various issues that are plaguing said society, be it inflation, government corruption, status of various social groups. It is an exciting age of social change. People have never been as empowered as they are now, and what’s more, they are finally learning to wield the sword within their hands.
“The Venezuelan Spring” is what many have dubbed the protests, and you can be secure in the knowledge that there will be more Venezuelan Springs and Arab Springs in the future. Count on it.
(Image Credit aandres on Flickr, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)