Venezuela: A Severe Case of Bolivaritis (Op-Ed)

For outsiders, Venezuela is a big unknown. For insiders, the country is a subsidiary of economic hell. Everybody knows Venezuela’s struck with hyperinflation, but that’s like knowing someone with Ebola has a fever. It is a symptom, not a cause, and the disease is called Bolivaritis.

For those uninitiated, we’re about to learn how naive it is to think that Venezuela is a “normal” country with a bout of hyperinflation, when it faces much bigger problems than that. We need to consider that the country is on the brink of a civil war and experiencing the following “symptoms”:

Symptom 1: Civil Unrest

To many Venezuelans, this is can be lethal as disease as hunger and desperation lead to aggressive riots and looting where many deaths occur among the parties involved. However, there’s no need to be a protester or an angry rioter to be in danger, as 14 year old Kluibert Roa Nuñez found out when a police officer shot him dead while he happened to be near university students running from the ones supposed to maintaining civil order. When consulted by CT about this, a Venezuelan bitcoiner named José Rodriguez said:

“Without exaggerating, my country looks more and more like Mad Max.”

Symptom 2: Crime

In a place where violence reigns in the streets, a homicide rate 4.3 times larger than Iraq, jailed inmates in control of prisons engaging in such barbarism as gladiatorial fights is of no surprise to anyone. Not to mention crimes such as kidnapping, which have skyrocketed

All of this contributes to an overwhelming sensation of impunity and helplessness, where people feel betrayed by their government and are already thinking that the worst is yet to come. One Venezuelan said to Cointelegraph regarding the situation:

“I hope I’m not here when Venezuela explodes.”

And that sums up the thinking that leads us to the next symptom.

Symptom 3: Emigration

According to Florida’s TV Station WLRN, Venezuela has become an “emigration nation” and it sure knows what it’s talking about since South Florida has the largest community of emigrants from that country. Some of which are part of a group called Veppex (Politically Prosecuted Venezuelans in Exile), which happens to be made up of those accused by president Maduro of plotting a coup supported by the US.

Symptom 4: Political Prisoners

As if it weren’t bad enough to be detained for protesting peacefully, add a bit of torture to the mix or an execution at the hands of the government in what is formally known as extrajudicial killing. Venezuela has become a nightmare for organizations such as Transparency International or Freedom House, who have published some grim reports about the current state of the country.

By and large, the reports describe a militarized regime, which has connections and allows the workings of drug cartels, terrorists and other criminal organizations. Any dissidents are readily jailed or politically prosecuted. As the writer of this article, I have no doubt that the Bolivarian Regime will likely add me to their already large blacklist of people who have said anything bad about them.

Symptom 5: Shortages

Our fifth symptom brings us back to one of the many sources of unrest: a generalized shortage of goods. While Venezuela’s Bitcoin adoption is growing rapidly, one Venezuelan told Cointelegraph:

“What good is money or BTC if you haven’t got any products to spend them on?”

And th