Target: Venezuelan Finance Minister Rodolfo Marco Torres
Goal: Stop protecting government access to debt markets while Venezuelans starve and suffer
Venezuela’s economy has been troubled for a long time due to the country’s reliance on its global neighbors for almost all of its goods, as well as the country’s failure to pay off its debts on time. The country’s biggest exports, oil and manufacturing goods, have not prevented Venezuela from amassing an enormous debt, including $25 billion in overdue payments. Unfortunately for the average Venezuelan, that money was invested not in local markets and infrastructure but in overseas assets, especially in the United States, Venezuela’s biggest trading partner. Now the government has decided to continue to prioritize payments on their debts in order to prevent bondholders in the state’s oil company from seizing shipments. This will preserve government access to debt markets instead of working to ease the burden on citizens suffering in the wake of ongoing inflation and currency devaluation.
Inflation and shortages of basic goods have led Venezuelans into the streets to make their suffering voices heard, and increasingly vehement protests have resulted in at least 42 deaths in just four months, but the government continues to focus on keeping bondholders happy. Citizens are having a hard time gaining access to necessities and food, and are often forced to wait for hours in line to acquire clean drinking water; the shortages have spawned a black market within the country where ordinary foodstuffs like maize are available at 300 percent of their normal value, making it nearly impossible for the average consumer to feed themselves and their families. Even hospitals are suffering without respite: in the capital of Caracas in February one of the major hospitals had to cease performing surgeries due to a lack of supplies, and some 90 percent of Venezuelan hospitals are experiencing a drastic deficiency in necessary supplies. Many residents have had to travel into neighboring countries to acquire medical treatment and medications.
By signing this petition, you are urging the Ministry of Finance to take responsibility for the way that Venezuelans have been left behind while the government invested overseas. You are calling on the Finance Minister to pursue policies like asset liquidation and local investment that prioritize Venezuelan citizens over bondholders.
Dear Finance Minister Rodolfo Marco Torres,
The Venezuelan government has shamefully abandoned its people, but it is not too late to begin to reverse the process. By continuing to devalue the bolivar and invest in foreign assets instead of local markets and communities, the government has left Venezuelans to the mercy of the global recession and the resulting crippling inflation and shortages. Venezuelans are starving and dying of thirst and easily treatable diseases because the government has bailed out its bondholders at the expense of its people.
I call on you to acknowledge that the crisis in Venezuela is the result of irresponsible government decisions. I urge you to move forward by crafting policies that would support Venezuelan communities, such as asset liquidation and local investment, and provide basic resources for them in the meantime so that they do not continue to starve and die. You have the power to make a difference in your fellow citizens’ lives, and they will not forget it when you support their communities in their time of need.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Zscout370 via Wikimedia Commons