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My interest in Venezuela stems from not only living there, but also because of the politics. Hugo Chávez came to power in 1998 with a promise to abolish the two-party system and open up opportunities to independent and 3rd parties; to end corruption; and to eradicate poverty. His flamboyant style and his promises appealed to poor and working class...a Bolivarian people's revolution of sorts.
His "enemies" were the rich "oligarchs" and the elitists. While I was there university professors were not being paid. PDVSA was a world class energy company with some highly accomplished scientists and professionals. However, when they protested his policies in the streets, he fired them. He did a purge of the company firing 19,000 employees without compensation, some of the best brains in the country. Many of them found jobs right away outside of the country. It was the start of a massive brain drain that set the country on decline.
With Chávez's death Maduro took over and continued the people's revolution. As the economy declined, the government resorted to nationalizing banks and key businesses. He took control of the media. Opposition party members would find themselves jailed or murdered.
Today the country has basically become a one party, one ruler government run by Maduro and his incompetent loyalists. Corruption is running rampant, and the poor and middle class are worse off than they have ever been. It is close to being a failed state.
Such is the demise of the Bolivarian revolution.