- There are shortages of things like toilet paper, chicken, milk, Harina Pan, a corn flour, which is THE staple in Venezuela, cooking oil and pretty much anything imported. Since they have to rely heavily on imports, it is a huge problem.
- The government controls the media. Newspapers and television stations which refused to align with the government were shut down. They not only control the political rhetoric, they control how much of which music radio stations may play. Just this week they took away the cameras and equipment of CNN at gunpoint. They just thought they were being robbed, at first. Since then, CNN has been told they are going to be removed from the air in Venezuela if they do not 'rectify' their coverage. Update: CNN has now been told they can stay, with the threat of being kicked out again.
- The government is controls the internet. They have used this control to block access to websites people use to get news the government doesn't want them to see. They even blocked twitter so people could not use it to get out news. They cut the internet to a town where the protests are huge.
- The government has threatened to stop the delivery of gasoline to areas where protests are happening. They have done this in one city already.
- The government announced today that if you are involved in the peaceful protests called "Marchas" (Marches) your passport will be suspended for five years.
- Jan 22, 2003 the government enacted an exchange control. This means the citizens are not allowed to exchange their currency for foreign currency. It's been in effect now for 11 years. Imagine if you need to import goods to run your little business, or even your family, and you are not allowed to do so because you can not get the currency you need.
- The crime rate is higher than most of us can understand. In this country of nearly 30 million people there were nearly 28,000 murders last year. That's a little over one murder per 1100 people. Per Year. People are so used to being robbed at gunpoint that they hardly seem phased by it.
- Inflation is a beast. It was 56% last year. It's difficult to get a grip on this reality.
- Medications are scarce. So scarce that President Maduro took to twitter recently to announce he had secured enough medication to last approximately four months.
This is where I realize I could do a ton more bullet points and still not even hit all the crucial areas. It is so difficult to understand the how and why, and so simple at the same time.
Don't think it could not happen to us. I believe it could happen anywhere. Pray for Venezuela. It's going to take some kind of miracle to get them out of this mess and back on track. It is economy, safety, and a government which can't control it. They are trying, but they are trying with a heavy hand and oppression. In my opinion, it's not the best way to motivate good people.