What's the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear:
I had to throw this question into the chat on Discord, just to make sure it wasn't just my own ignorance that caused the agitation I was feeling after being compelled to look into the current events in Venezuela last night.
For the sake of my own mental health I have stopped to actively look into the miseries our modern world produces and I've also stopped listening to the hyperbolic reports on "current events" in the mainstream media. It was entirely possible that I was just being ignorant, but the first reply seemed to confirm that I wasn't alone:
And that's actually a good point! Venezuela has the world's largest known oil reserves and has been one of the world's leading exporters of oil. Barely 20 years ago Venezuela was one of the "richest" countries in South America.
What we should really think of when we hear "Venezuela", though, is probably something more along the lines of:
Hyperinflation, Food & Medicine Shortages, Riots, TURMOIL.
Venezuela is literally the nation with the world's most severe economic crisis at the moment. One would think that the media should be full of reports on the situation, dissecting the causes and discussing possible solutions. But alas, NO!
When narrowing down the search results on "Venezuela" to new uploads from the past week, there's just ONE youtube video in English on the first page, and it's one of those auto generated headline feeds. Take a look yourself, it's just 1minute:
Now this isn't very revealing, allthough it does at least give a rudimentary view at the situation.
I was looking for something more personal, more "credible" and down to the ground though. I did find a very touching first-hand report told by a Venezuelan from several months ago. Keep in mind, the situation has probably escalated even more since then. Please watch this (12min):
I'm a bit speechless, and I feel like I know much too little still about the situation down there. It's really hard to get well explained facts about the developments leading to this. All the news (even most alternative sources) fail to dig into the complexities of this that have evolved over the past few decades.
I don't want to get into political commentary or conspiracy theories here, but the simple sentiment of "corruption and failed socialism" leading to "the inevitable demise of a country" doesn't satisfy me at all.
I have not always been as ignorant as I am today. I've spent a few miserable years of my life actively looking for the truths behind all the crap which humankind has to go through. I know Venezuela's history is not as straight forward as it may look like under the superficial look provided by news agencies.
For those of you who would like to learn more about Venezuela's recent history, I'll recommend another YouTube Link . This is an hour long documentary on the failed Coup against former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. It show's eerily familiar signs of foreign intervention, Snipers shooting at both sides of a protest, all too similar to what has been reported about the Maidan Square in Ukraine. If that's not enough to shake you up in your chair, google "economic hitman"... but I digress.
Now this is all a bit out of the ordinary for what I usually post on steemit. So:
Why do I post About Venezuela?!
I mostly busy myself with spreading positive vibes and it's not my intention to depress anyone with the dire situations in other parts of the world that I have no personal experience with. But it's actually this silly little #GooglyPrize contest that brought my attention to this stark reality, and I felt a deep need to share this moment!
A Surge in Users from Venezuela!
Over the past weeks I have noticed a surge in participants posting in Spanish. I am always happy to see new members joining the contest, but I also have to admit I was a bit disappointed by what at first looked like rather low-effort entries. But hey, everyone is welcome and I'm not going to complain. But of course I'll do some double checking if users are just in it for a quick buck or if they enjoy the actual idea behind it.
I feel a little bit like an entitled douchebag for looking down on those "low-effort" posts, but as more of those came in accompanied by sentences that sounded a little lost in translation, I slowly realised that I was missing some background information.
this pepsi is happy because the people of the market where I was, were crazy to take it and I was lucky to take it myself, and is happy because they could not take it exept me
It's true I miss the coffee ups!
In my country it is difficult to obtain coffee, right now it is a product regulated by the government and that makes it disappear from the market and if you get it the price is very high
There's not much more I can say about this. But I understand now, a crypto dollar gets you far in a country with failing fiat money! I hope the few cents in upvotes I have sent their way can help just a little bit!
And aside from all the depressive realisation, I also think this is a situation where the benefits of unregulated open monetary systems will show it's true power. And STEEM, it even comes with a censorship-proof media platform!
More Power To The People!
PALnet has a chat room #teamvenezuela on Discord!
Venezuelans - band together, support and help each other!
Additional Info that didn't fit the post:
@steem-pays is a "service" that helps exchange STEEM/SBD into local currency in Venezuela. I have no idea if this is legit or even a good idea when inflation is in the thousands of percents!
the Venezuelan government, in a struggle to regulate their currency, have announced a national cryptocurrency backed by oil reserves - the PETRO. Yeap, again, no idea how legit that is, but coindesk reported about it in Dec. Latest updates from a day ago include the potential release of a "fake" or "draft" whitepaper.