Sunday, January 07, 2018
Harvard University Professor Ricardo Hausmann has a plan to halt Venezuela's free-fall into an economic and humanitarian crisis for the ages, and it requires help from foreign militaries. Venezuela's opposition-led National Assembly should use its constitutional power to impeach President Nicolas Maduro and Vice President Tareck El Aissami, and then usher in a new government to be run -- at least temporarily -- by the assembly's leader, Hausmann said in a column published Tuesday by Project Syndicate. To ensure a democratic transition, the nation will need assistance from foreign military forces, said the country's former planning minister, who now runs Harvard's Center for International Development.
"Solutions have to be proportional or respondent to the reality on the ground, and the reality on the ground is beyond belief," Hausmann said in a followup interview from Miami. "That's the context in which we should be having this discussion. It's in the context of a country that is falling apart, a country that is dying. People are dying in droves."
Venezuela is in a deep depression, with gross domestic product contracting for four years in a row, according to analysts' estimates. Years of government interference in the economy and the 2014 crash in the price of crude -- the mainstay of the Venezuelan economy -- have left the country battered by quadruple-digit inflation and a shortage of affordable food and medicine. The U.S. government imposed sanctions against officials in Maduro's administration last year after what it said was a government power grab.
The once-prosperous nation is plagued by a plunge in imports that has left Venezuelans shedding weight or literally starving. An investigation by the New York Times found a surge in child malnutrition, with doctors interviewed reporting some 2,800 cases last year, including almost 400 deaths. Per Hausmann's estimates, a kilo of pork now costs 85 hours of labor at the minimum wage, 20 times the price in Colombia.
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