In his article "Venezuela on verge of collapse ... thanks to President Hugo Chavez Frias" Joel Brinkley presents an apocalyptic vision of the current situation in my country but I will proceed with some comments, to share my version of the REAL situation with you:
The majority of the country population were disillusioned, they felt that the national wealth source, i.e. oil, was not reaching the majority of the Venezuelan people" Resources were not invested in improvements to alleviate the population's situation"
The national currency deflated so suddenly and constantly that it forced excessive annual inflation rates were the norm, with a rapid loss of the whole population's purchasing power and increases in poverty and extreme poverty levels.
Crime, insecurity, were already present at very high levels at the time...
Infrastructure development was very rare, slow and even at the best of times ... mostly staying only at the project stage. For example: investment in thermoelectric generation was ZERO since all private industry was fed from hydroelectric generation. It was encouraged by the State, since their strategy was to deliver this particular form of energy to such enterprises at half price...
Nobody invested in strengthening the national electrical grid and that policy was even promoted by government officials.
The indigenous peoples were excluded, forgotten and marginalized, without attention.
In the international arena, Venezuela had very little weight and influence ... we were only known for our oil exports and our winning participation in the Miss Universe contest. Student protests were constant, with consequent suspension of classes and the killing of some students.
Venezuela, dependent on oil, became a mono-producing country ... lots of traditional crops were abandoned ... most of the domestic trade was focused on imports and we came fully dependent on the outside world. Economic expansion, growth and job creation were very limited indeed.
The Venezuelan people suffered from constantly falling oil prices, which obliged those pre-Chavez administrations to implement unpopular measures .... generally at the expense of the majority. There was a clear tendency to privatize everything, sell oil at low prices, simply to get financial resources quickly ... bread for today but hunger for tomorrow.
Venezuela was a ship adrift, with huge unrest, without any national project.
However, after 11 years of President Chavez administration, we can say that the country has submitted to electoral processes on numerous occasions, and the population has been brought into political debate; electoral participation has been high; traditionally excluded sectors of the population have now realized that their vote is very important and they have a greater impact on the changes occurring in the country.
Rates of unemployment, infant mortality, poverty and extreme poverty have experienced significant declines. Compared with other Latin American countries, Venezuela has higher minimum wages ... its population enjoys wages which have continuously increased over the years ... social security pensions have been brought into line with the minimum wage and the number of pensioners has increased greatly, resulting in an improvement in the standard of living of this important sector of population.
Venezuela's indigenous population has representation in the National Assembly.