Humanitarian crisis and refugee camps are not part of the image of Latin America in the world. A middle-income region with a growing middle class, Latin America is supposed to be better than that. The alternative picture—thousands of refugees on the march, a destroyed economy and people on the verge of starvation—is jarring. It may also be one reason as to why the world is only now waking up to the fact that Venezuela, which sits on the world’s largest proven oil reserves, is collapsing.
Once Latin America’s wealthiest nation, with regular Concorde flights between Paris and Caracas, the government’s misguided effort since 1999 to establish a new Socialism for the 21st Century has, predictably, wrecked the economy and destroyed democracy.