Long-term plan needed for crisis in Venezuela

Lindsey Schwalm, Contributing Writer

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Throughout Venezuela, tensions are rising as humanitarian crises have worsened with the fight over who should lead the nation. U.S. President Donald Trump and President of Venezuela Nicolás Maduro have been going head to head, as growing opposition in Venezuela has been trying to remove Maduro from office. There are starving people without medication in Venezuela that need to be taken care of, and inflation continues to rise and the economy plummets further. While trying to overthrow Maduro, Venezuelan opposition leaders and other international players need to keep in mind the further damage they may inflict upon the everyday citizens of Venezuela.

 

Trump and many other international leaders have recognized a man named Juan Guaidó as interim president and have piled resources at the Colombian border to help Venezuela. With the backing of Venezuela’s military and parliament, Maduro refused to let the relief and resources into the country. Currently, Maduro is still standing firm despite the backlash from the international community, as Guaidó and his international support have not been able to sway the military power that still stands behind Maduro.

 

Additionally, to increase pressure on Maduro, Trump has imposed strict sanctions on Venezuelan oil imports to the United States, devastating their oil-reliant economy. If the sanctions and international support for Guaidó do not force Maduro out of office shortly, they need to look into alternatives to get these citizens the resources and medication they need. Long-term sanctions may put those who are already disadvantaged by the crisis in even worse conditions by limiting further resources. If Maduro does not budge, pushing the limits of the government’s resources through strict sanctions will lead to irrecoverable economic devastation, which will only intensify the crisis for the citizens and is predicted to increase the number of Venezuelan refugees pouring out of the country.

 

There are few signs of relief reaching the general population of Venezuela. Maduro’s opposition says they are going to smuggle in aid that is mounting at the border, though they have no plan for how they will distribute the humanitarian resources. Many relief agencies like the Red Cross are refusing to help the people of Venezuela because they do not want to take a side in the conflict. Ensuring the welfare of the Venezuelan people should be the top priority for all the leaders involved, but it has been put on the backburner, as many are focused on trying to thwart Maduro.

Trump has alluded to the fact that he has multiple backup plans for the situation but has not specified what they are. If Maduro does not back down, alternatives need to be discussed to ensure that the humanitarian crisis does not worsen, as for many Venezuelans this means death. The most important thing is that Guaidó, Trump, and many other opposition leaders focus on a solution that actually helps the people in need without intensifying the already catastrophic humanitarian crisis.

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