Just a decade ago, much of the political left in Latin America and beyond still admired Venezuela’s ambitious socialist project. They applauded President Hugo Chávez and hailed Venezuela’s socialism as an appealing alternative to market-based approaches. Today, few dispute that it has failed. Venezuela now faces an economic and humanitarian disaster, and the situation is only getting worse.
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the economy contracted ten percent last year, and it is projected to shrink at least eight percent this year. Inflation is forecast to reach 700 percent. All over the country, energy shortages leave the streets in darkness for hours every day. The capital, Caracas, has one of the highest murder rates in the world. And in a country with a barely functioning health system, an estimated 400,000 people have contracted the Zika virus, and the numbers keep rising.