4 March 2018   Leave a comment

The economic and political situation in Venezuela has reached a breaking point under the rule of President Maduro.  The inflation rate is the highest in the world, economic growth is at a virtual standstill, and basic commodities are simply not available.  As a result, Venezuelans are feeling the country.  According to The Washington Post:

“Nearly 1 million Venezuelans have left their country over the past two years, according to the International Organization for Migration, with experts citing a surge during the second half of 2017, when the economy took a sharp turn for the worse. That figure is in addition to the hundreds of thousands who departed between 1999 and 2015.

“Our migration levels are now comparable to Syria or to [the Rohingya going to] Bangladesh,” said Tomás Páez, an immigration expert at the Central University of Venezuela. More than 1 million Syrians, Afghans, Iraqis and others fleeing war and poverty poured into Europe in 2015, and 650,000 Rohingya Muslims have recently fled persecution in Burma, seeking refuge in Bangladesh.”

The other Latin American states and the international community as a whole have ignored the crisis because of an unwillingness to intervene in what has traditionally been defined as an internal matter.  The Trump Administration, however, seems to be interested in fostering a regime change in Venezuela, which, if true, would be a disaster. Having said that, the world should not shirk from what is clearly a humanitarian crisis.

 

After six months of deliberation and debate, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) of Germany has voted to join Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governing coalitionThe vote in the SPD was overwhelming, testimony to the concessions Merkel was obliged to give up in return–six ministerial posts.   Nonetheless, the months of wrangling have weakened Chancellor Merkel in the eyes of the public.  The decision was also greeted with relief in the European Union although it is still waiting for the results of the Italian election being held today. 

 

One of the more interesting developments in the global balance of power is the growing strategic relationship between Russia and Iran.  The two  have never coexisted easily–Iran has always felt threatened by the expansive growth of its northern neighbor.  The two countries share a common interest in Syria because they both support the continuation of President Assad’s rule.  As that goal becomes more likely, many of us had anticipated that Russia and Iran would become more adversarial over how Syria would be ruled.  But the hostility of the US to both states seems to have overcome their natural suspicion of each other.  It seems that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” now rules their foreign policy in the region.

 

 

Posted March 4, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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