Daniela M. Casado

New York
Venezuela is a country with one of the biggest oil reserves in the world, yet as of today it is ranked as having one of worst economies, greatest inflation rates, and a great amount of external debt. Produced in late 2013, these symbols portray Venezuela’s decadence over the last ten years due to its misleading politics. The symbols provide an insight of the day-to-day situations that Venezuelans have to face, such as insecurity, basic shortage of needs, human rights violations, and media censorship.

1. Nicolas Maduro, current president. 2. Hugo Chavez, president 1999-2013. 3. Henrique Capriles, opposite candidate. 4. Oil Reserves, one of the greatest worldwide. 5. Oil Refinement, exporting to many countries. 6. Coastline, exporting to many countries. 7. New Socialism, political idelogy established by Chavez. 8. Identity, change of flag, code of arms, republic name. 9. Provinces, seven geographical zones in the country.10. Constitutional Reform, in the past decade there have been over five. 11. Corruption, policemen are as dangerous as thieves and kidnappers. 12. Black Market, easier way to find US dollars. 13. Insecurity, Caracas has one of the highest murder rate. 14. Economy, high inflation and no economi- cal growth. 15. Education, poor sector, high index of analfabetism. 16. Poverty, zinc houses are built in unstable soil. 17. Roads, lack of maintenance in highways. 18. US Government, great political tensions due ideology differences. 19. Cuba, closest relation and great influence from Castro revolution. 20. Media Saturation, common presidential national broadcats for lenghty periods. 21. Importations, over 60% of consumed goods are now imported. 22. Industries, government has shut down over 3,000 businesses in the past decade. 23. CADIVI, government-controlled currency exchange. 24. Devaluation, the country’s currency -Bolivar- is almost worthless. 25. Disrespect, Simon Bolivar’s -Latinamerica’s liberator- tomb was profaned by Chavez. 26. Ban of Free Press, the largest media channel was shut down for not sharing the government’s ideology. 27. Political Prison- ers, people under arrest with unfair charges and trial, product of not sharing the government’s ideology. 28. Freedom of Speech, protestors are not allowed to express ideas contrary to the government’s. 29. Lack of Human Rights, qualified by the UN as a country with no Human Rights 30. Oil Strike, stop in oil production due to fund embezzlement. 31. Agression, military attacks to civilians protesting against government. 32. Lack of Maintenance, fallen bridge in one of the most important roads to the coast. 33. Electricity, lack of maintenance, flaws attributed to supernatural phenomenoms. 34. Cancer, Chavez was diagnosed with this disease, he considered it a terrorist act from the US. 35. Hope, symbol of opposite candidate for presidential elections in 2012. 36. Reencarnation, Maduro claimed Chavez’s appeared to him in the shape of a bird after his death. 37. Vote, as a sign of voting the pinky is dipped in purple ink. 38. Protests, opposition knock on pans and pots as a sign of protest. 39. Assembly, physical fight in Congress due to ideology differences. 40. Basic Needs, due to the economical crisis, products like toilet paper are now hard to find. 41. Shame, Maduro tries to be gender inclusive by making up words in both genders. 42. Budget Sortage, public universities are not given any budget for maintenance of salaries. 43. Explosions, refineries caught on fire for lack of maintenance. 44. Fraud, after presidential elections a vote recount was denied. 45. Haunting, the memory of Chavez is being used as political strategies.




I have always found great pride in being a born and raised Venezuelan, in every conversation with a foreigner I would always brag about something from my country, especially the fact that putting gas costs us less than a US dollar, and being citizen of such a privileged country makes me feel privileged myself.
Venezuela is a country fortunate enough to have pretty much all the resources to become a great nation. Its extremely high biodiversity, ranging from Alps and rain forest to plains and a great Caribbean coastline; translates into tools for development. Not to mention of course, the oil reservoir.In 1999 Hugo Chavez won the Presidency, some supported him and some didn’t but regardless of this the most important thing was he had won fair and square. He started developing new policies, constitutional reforms, and less than a decade later the country had drifted away from democracy and the Venezuela I was born was no longer the one I was living in. Restrictions and censorships kept arising along with crimerates, inflation, and poverty index; under Chavez’s revolution of a 21st Century Socialism, the country seemed to be sinking –along with everyone’s morals. We became a nation where money buys anything and a phone is worth more than someone’s life.