Features

Maduro’s fake and fleeting victory

Nicolas Maduro won Sunday's presidential election by a mile – and surprised no one.

897-Maduro-634
Nicolas Maduro: ignoring economics

The result of Sunday's presidential election in Venezuela was "never in doubt", says Gideon Long in the Financial Times. Nicolas Maduro won "by a mile", thanks to a mixture of coercion including, allegedly, food for votes propaganda and "possibly outright fraud". What is less predictable, is what happens between now and 2025, when his term expires.

The US has already announced a ban on US purchases of debts owed to the socialist government and state-owned oil company PDVSA. The Lima Group of 14 countries, including Brazil and Mexico, refused to recognise the election result and said they would increase scrutiny of sanctioned members of the Venezuelan government. However, analysts think Washington is unlikely to impose a full embargo on Venezuelan oil, not least because its output is "falling so quickly" it is losing relevance.

Since Maduro took over from his mentor Hugo Chvez, who died in 2013, Venezuela's crisis has "intensified" due to lower oil prices, "corruption and a socialist system plagued with mismanagement", say Anthony Faiola and Rachelle Krygier in The Washington Post. Oil production is collapsing. Last year, 25,000 workers at PDVSA 25% of the workforce quit in a mass exodus.

The economy is in freefall, along with public services. Diseases such as diphtheria are "not only resurfacing but surging". Citizens cannot afford to eat. The minimum wage has dropped by 95% in real terms since 2013, inflation is running at 13,000%, and at least one million have emigrated in the past four years, adds Stephen Gibbs in The Times.

"Little is left of the hope and fury that animated protests against the regime last year," says The Economist. But Maduro cannot defy for ever the laws of economics or the international coalition ranged against him. His victory "may be not only fake, but fleeting".

Recommended

The Arab Spring ten years on: a revolution that failed to blossom
Global Economy

The Arab Spring ten years on: a revolution that failed to blossom

Ten years ago, the Arab world was rocked by mass protests and popular uprisings that ousted long-reviled dictators. For the most part, the end result …
23 Jan 2021
The charts that matter: inflation, bubbles, and booze
Economy

The charts that matter: inflation, bubbles, and booze

As US stocks head higher into bubble territory, John Stepek looks at the charts that matter most to the global economy.
23 Jan 2021
Inflation is the easiest way out of this – just don’t expect politicians to admit it
Inflation

Inflation is the easiest way out of this – just don’t expect politicians to admit it

The UK government borrowed £34.1bn in December, a record amount for that month. Britain's debt pile now amounts to 100% of GDP. How are we going to pa…
22 Jan 2021
Beware: inflation is starting to stir in the US
Inflation

Beware: inflation is starting to stir in the US

With US consumer prices up by 1.4% in the last year, concern about inflation is now everywhere.
22 Jan 2021

Most Popular

Why we won’t see a house-price crash in 2021
House prices

Why we won’t see a house-price crash in 2021

Lockdown sent house prices berserk as cooped up home-workers fled for bigger properties in the country. And while they won’t rise quite as much this y…
18 Jan 2021
Inflation is the easiest way out of this – just don’t expect politicians to admit it
Inflation

Inflation is the easiest way out of this – just don’t expect politicians to admit it

The UK government borrowed £34.1bn in December, a record amount for that month. Britain's debt pile now amounts to 100% of GDP. How are we going to pa…
22 Jan 2021
The world’s fund managers are getting very bullish – be careful out there
Stockmarkets

The world’s fund managers are getting very bullish – be careful out there

The latest survey of fund managers shows them to be extremely bullish on all the same things. And that, says John Stepek, means the market is in dange…
21 Jan 2021