Recently Venezuela has hit it big in the media. It is currently experiencing financial hardship leaving many people without food, it has a president with an authoritarian streak and the opposition leader has sworn an oath of presidency saying he is the legitimate president.
Quite a bit going on there.
Are people in Venezuela starving and in need of help?
Yes. The local currency has crashed.
Venezuela has the typical problem of a former colonialist state - its economy had been rigged to provide for the needs of the coloniser. Unlike a self sufficient state, it had to historically rely upon importing its needs, while exporting its main product. Historically this was coffee. These days it is oil.
The poor in Venezuela were subsidised, which was supported by oil profits, but over the past few years the oil price has crashed.
Nicolas Maduro also seems to lack some skill in managing the country and the economy. There probably is rampant corruption too. However the biggest thing that has hit Venezuela is the massive drop in oil prices over the past few years.
At one point oil traded around $120 a barrel. Now it is around $60.
What hasnt helped in addition to this is sanctions - despite what western leaders say, the only people sanctions hit are the ordinary person. This has pretty much been the case in every situation where sanctions have been used - the rich and powerful continue to thrive, but the poor suffer.
Trump has been looking to overthrow the regime since he came into office and the US policy of sanctions has been guided with this goal.
Other western nations however also have not helped. In the midst of economic crisis and food shortages the country has also been prevented from using its foreign reserves. The US, the UK, most of Europe and Canada was frozen its bank accounts.
The UK alone held over a billion dollars of Venezuelan funds. Now the country has been deprived of this.
Is Juan Guaido the legitimate President of Venezuela
While there have been allegations of corruption and of vote rigging etc, Guaido did not win the presidential election. Maduro did.
At best he has a claim for a re-run, but demographically I suspect he cannot ever get more than around 35% of the popular support.
What? Who? Why?
Elliot Arams is the current US designated Special Envoy to Venezuela. He says he wants to help the people. He wants to help the "legitimate" president take his place and he wants to provide aid to Venezuela.
Aid for those that need it? oh goody!
It's not so simple as that. It never is. Venezuela has rejected the help. and it has good right to do so.
The first show attempt to give aid was over a border crossing that has not been in use for years. Since then further attempts have been made, with essential aid lined up at the border in front of starving masses on the other side who need it.
However there is a slight problem. Elliot Abrams. He has given humanitarian aid in Latin America before. He used it as a cover to send weaponry to the Contras.
He has been convicted for hiding the information of what occurred in the previous scandal. He used the cover of humanitarian aid to smuggle in weaponry to rightwing militia who carried out massacres and purges against local populations.
It is worth reading the Wikipedia page on Elliot Abrahams, especially in relation to Guatemala, Elsalvador and Nicaragua to see why his involvement is troubling.
If the world wants to help Venezuela, it should help it by removing sanctions, increasing trade and providing ways for the country to become self sufficient.
This will set off a tidal wave!
The freaky thing is that no one has been paying attention. Venezuela has not been the first Latin American country in recent years to experience regime change though strange means. The first was Argentina, through judicial means. Next was Brazil. Both countries eventually managed to elect presidents that through normal means would not have had a chance in hell. Venezuela is the third country that is experiencing destabilisation, albeit in a different more serious way.