Venezuela and its War on Two Fronts: Diplomacy and Economy
The Pentecostal Evangelical Union of Venezuela has made a new call for solidarity as the United States government insists on declaring that country a “threat for our national security.” U.S. President Barack Obama renewed on May 3rd, 2016 an executive order issued in March 2015, that declared Venezuela “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.” The renewal of the decree is valid for one year and was revealed in a letter from Obama to congressional leaders. In the letter, the U.S. president claims that alleged conditions that first prompted the order had “not improved.” The executive order was first issued by Obama in March 2015 based on alleged violations of human rights and widespread corruption and it provoked a storm of controversy inside Venezuela and a backlash throughout Latin America. After the first time, and after an international campaign pressing the U.S. to cancel the order, President Obama clarified that Venezuela wasn’t a threat.
In the meantime, Bishop Gamaliel Lugo, UEPV’s President reported that President Maduro falls in popularity as the Venezuelan Government is confronting an “economic war” with goods suppliers and business. He stated that many basic necessities of life such as deodorant, sunscreen, and toilet paper are either missing from store shelves, or are in such short supply that lines wrapping around the block are a common sight at busy drug stores in the city. Inflation has wreaked havoc on daily life for ordinary Venezuelans who have been forced to wait for hours at the ATM just to withdraw Bolivars whose official exchange rate is 6.5 to 1 U.S. dollar, while the unofficial rate is hovering around 800 to 1. The explanation of this phenomenon, coming from our partners and analysis from alternative media, is based on the way the majority of Venezuela’s imports and distribution networks are in the hands of the elite, the same elite who once also controlled the government until 1999 and Chavez’s ascendance. Many of the goods needed for Venezuelan consumption are diverted and sold to Brazil and Colombia at higher prices than in Venezuela. This phenomenon is called “bachaqueo” or reselling of goods outside the country. Venezuela is experiencing manufactured scarcity, a crisis deliberately induced as a means of destabilization against the government. One example of this is that a huge company that processes chicken closes, but continues to pay employees to do nothing, deliberately reducing the supply of chicken in the country in order to deprive the people of this critical staple food. This is a psychological/economic war waged against the people of Venezuela in an attempt to intimidate them and to affect the perception of the social commitment of the government.
Pentecostals believe very profoundly about the work of the Holy Spirit on integral communion by the breaking of the bread and praying together along with the Venezuelan society (Acts 2:42). That communion clearly includes a life project that condemns accumulation or even the “hiding of bread,” as allies of hidden powers of this nation are doing at this moment, and to celebrate the common good as a sign of whole salvation. That Sharing of the fullness of life has been a distinctive element of the UEPV in Venezuela. It is our task as brothers and sisters in Christ, to call on advocacy in the U.S. calling for respect and full understanding on the reality and the sovereignty of Venezuela as well as to accompany the people in the midst of the “economic war” that they are suffering at this moment.