Venezuela is one of the Western hemisphere’s most oil-rich countries. Despite this, most Venezuelans can’t afford basic commodities like food. According to Reuters, the average Venezuelan lost 24 pounds last year. Also, 90 percent of the country lives below the poverty line.
The country’s charismatic leader, Hugo Chavez, died in 2013 and his successor, Nicolas Maduro, is up for re-election. It’s likely to be little more than symbolic. U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley leads a loose coalition of nine American countries to pressure Venezuela for better human rights and has threatened a military coup.
To discuss the ongoing crisis, we’re joined by David Smilde, senior fellow at the Washington Office on Latin America, and Verónica Zubillaga, associate professor of Behavioral Sciences and Technologies at Simón Bolívar University in Caracas. They’re in Chicago for a working group on peace in Venezuela. The meeting is sponsored by Northwestern University and the University of Illinois at Chicago.