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Venezuela is in shambles. Blocked exchange with the U.S. dollar and falling crude oil prices have resulted in a rapidly shrinking economy. Essential goods are increasingly unattainable for most citizens, and food scarcity and malnourishment are common. According to the survey on living conditions published yearly by a consortium of Venezuelan universities, Venezuelans report having lost an average of eleven kilograms in 2017, 80 percent of households surveyed were food insecure, and more than 60 percent of the population lived in extreme poverty (ENCOVI, 2017). Political and social turmoil has engulfed the country since late President Hugo Chavez’s health decline in 2012 and ultimate death in 2013. This has only increased since mid-2017, when the installation of a Constituent Assembly by President Nicolás Maduro nullified the role of the National Assembly, leading to a constitutional crisis and the existence of two concurrent governments: Maduro’s socialist dictatorship (which remains in power and still controls the military) and National Assembly President Juan Guaido’s interim government (which has been recognized by numerous foreign countries). Those who can, especially young people, have left the country; the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that three million Venezuelans, migrants, and refugees have fled as a result of the ongoing crisis (UNHCR, 2018).


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