Know Your Square Inch: Venezuela. by: Roberto Rivera for Break Point
GNN Note – This is a tragedy that we at GNN are painfully aware as we have been following this unfolding nightmare for the past 4+ years. We have seen Venezuela go from a somewhat stable nation to a nation in complete chaos with upwards of 3 million people, literally, walking out. The most affluent and educated escaped 2+ years ago and will not be coming back.
[Break Point’s Note: This article is one in an occasional series entitled “Know Your Square Inch,” Roberto Rivera’s nod of the head to Abraham Kuyper’s famous claim that every square inch of creation belongs to Jesus Christ. That being the case, Roberto seeks to inform American Christians of important global issues that may be unfamiliar to them.]
There are plenty of diets to choose from: the ketogenic diet, the Mediterranean diet, Weight Watchers, etc. But there’s one diet you’ve never heard of that has enabled millions of people to lose at least twenty pounds without any effort on their part: the Maduro Diet, named for Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro Moros.
Under the Maduro diet, 75 percent of Venezuela’s 32 million people lost an average of eleven kilograms (24.2 pounds) in 2017, and have probably lost more since then.
When I say “without any effort on their part” I don’t mean that, as some American diets promise, they ate whatever they wanted. I mean they had no choice in the matter; there was not enough to eat.
What makes the Maduro diet even more tragic is that Venezuela sits on the world’s largest proven oil reserves, ten percent higher than Saudi Arabia’s. Yet its people are slowly starving.
To put it mildly, Venezuela is a mess.
To begin to understand how and why this happened, it helps to make sure that we are actually talking about Venezuela. Let’s start with the basics: The country’s official name is la República Bolivariana de Venezuela, “the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,” not “Socialist Venezuela,” or “The People’s Republic of Venezuela.” And its capital is Caracas, not Washington, Albany, or Sacramento.
The snark and pedantry is necessary because virtually all of the coverage of the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela precedes from the question: What does this mean for the United States? Conservative media depicts the suffering of the Venezuelan people as a cautionary tale for the United States about what could happen if Bernie Sanders or, more recently Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (whose name conveniently sounds like it could be Venezuelan) should come to power.
This ethnocentrism makes little, if any effort, to understand the origins of the Venezuelan crisis or anything about Venezuela itself, for that matter. Thus, anything it has to say about what’s going on in Caracas is, to borrow H.L. Mencken’s formulation, “clear, simple, and wrong,” and of no use to the people suffering.