Elections are supposed to enable voters to improve their fortunes. Sadly, that is not the case with this weekend’s vote in Venezuela. Regardless of the outcome, voters can expect no quick exit from their country’s downward spiral. Officials from the United Nations, the Organization of American States, the European Union, the U.S., and Venezuela’s neighbors have denounced the upcoming vote as flawed beyond redemption. Even if one of President Nicolas Maduro’s three opponents were allowed to win — other more popular candidates have been barred, leading to a broader opposition boycott — he would be hamstrung by Maduro’s allies. They control the military and effectively all branches of government. Maduro’s tenure has been an economic disaster. Inflation will exceed 13,000 percent this year. Gross domestic product is expected to shrink by 15 percent; it has fallen by almost 50 percent since 2013. Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves — but thanks to mismanagement, you’d never know it: By 2020, oil production will be less than half of what it was in 2013. Venezuela has already defaulted on some of its debt, which stands at nearly 120 percent of GDP.Full Article: Venezuela’s Empty Election - Bloomberg.
May 17 2018