Venezuela’s energy crisis has reached emergency levels, and the only solution is to institute a two day workweek. That’s right, there isn’t enough power for people to even go to work in the socialist nation. The new rules not only apply to government workers, but the private sector as well (to the extent it still exists), who had previously been given Fridays off as a means of saving money. Additionally, many government workers will not receive paychecks.
The new austerity measures take Venezuela to a new low, and at a time when many believed the South American nation couldn’t fall much further. It has been in crisis for a little over a year, thanks primarily to the bottom falling out of the oil market. Some 96 percent of their export earnings come from the fossil fuel, and the glut of supply has left them in the lurch.
This has led to a chain reaction in the nation and, combined with governmental corruption and a socialistic economy, has caused the citizens to fall into nearly universal destitution. Shortages of food, basic necessities such as toilet paper, and medicine have left the people in a dire position. In fact, it seems the black market is the only thing functioning properly, as people desperate for basic needs purchase what they need where they can get it.
The latest crisis is a lack of energy. Rolling blackouts have struck nationwide, thanks to a drought that has left the nation’s largest hydroelectric dam at historically low water levels. The power companies are also primarily state-owned thanks to the socialist policies, which means their are no other other viable options for the people to turn to.
At the moment, the two day work week is only officially in place for two weeks. However, it seems unlikely that Venezuela’s free fall will be anywhere near resolved in that timeframe. Citizens have taken to the streets in protests that occasionally turned to looting and rioting. A recall of President Nicolas Maduro may be on the horizon, and petitions have circulated to that end. However, Maduro has not shied away from using force to quell unrest, and corruption has marred his government ever since taking over in 2013.
Venezuela is spiraling downward and the crisis will continue for the foreseeable future. Even removing Maduro from office wouldn’t solve the problem, as decades of socialist policies and overreliance on one product has exposed their economy to extreme risk. Unfortunately, it’s the citizens who are paying the price for their government’s incompetence and corruption.