http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2016/ ... a-imploded
It's one of the epic economic collapses of our time. And it was totally avoidable.
Venezuela used to be a relatively rich country. It has just about all the economic advantages a country could ask for: beautiful beaches and mountains ready for tourism, fertile land good for farming, an educated population, and oil, lots and lots of oil.
During the boom years, the Venezuelan government made some choices that add up to an economic time bomb.
Venezuela didn't save its oil money. It used it to subsidize goods and services for the people, but in some unusual ways. Another choice: instead of making stuff at home, Venezuela imported almost everything it could. The government also kept tight control on the exchange rate between Venezuelan bolivars and U.S. dollars.
As long as the price of oil was high, there weren't serious problems. Then oil prices came down.
At one point under Chavez Venezuela was even subsidizing heating oil for Americans. Just giving it away:https://mic.com/articles/3357/hugo-chav ... .MjK07iR0y
Many poor Americans in colder climes will doubtless be dismayed to hear that shortly after ringing in the New Year, Congress and the president have decided to cut 25% from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, (LIHEAP) showing once again their preference to default on the needy and vulnerable rather than asking the most powerful and wealthy to make even the smallest sacrifices.
Far more welcome news came from Citgo Petroleum Corporation, a subsidiary of Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, which announced that it would be continuing its six-year-old program of providing heating oil to poor Americans free of charge. The contrast between the values displayed by the American and Venezuelan governments – the “good guys” and “bad guys,” respectively, of the American political consensus – could not be more striking.
$1.2 billion will be cut from LIHEAP, reducing its budget to $3.47 billion. Thankfully the initial requests of the Obama administration to cut the program’s funding to $2.5 billion were not carried out. In 2011, 8.3 million people were helped by LIHEAP, although there were more people eligible than the program was able to assist. According to the National Energy Assistance Director’s Association (NEADA) 90% of families participating in the program contain at least one “vulnerable” member, defined as the elderly, children, and the disabled.
The cuts come at a time when the cost of heating oil has reached $3.93 a gallon, up 57 cents from last year. This is a 22-year high, according to the Energy Information Administration. The escalating price of heat is especially threatening to people living on a fixed income, including the retired.
Citgo expects to help more than 400,000 Americans this year with a 100-gallon donation of heating oil and said that in addition to providing assistance to private citizens, Citgo would also provide assistance to 250 homeless shelters.
They gave a lot to others too, not just USA. Cuba for example and I'm sure others as well. Now they are really up shit creek.
A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.