Venezuela economy surges, U.S. sanction policy crumbling

Chicago, IL- 2022 was a banner year for the Venezuelan economy. The Central Bank of Venezuela recorded a growth rate of 19%, while the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America put it at 12%. While rising food and gas prices have eaten into labor incomes in the US and much of the world over the past year, inflation in Venezuela has been lower than in previous years. This is due to booms in both the food and oil sectors in Venezuela due to the Bolivarian Revolution’s ability to overcome US sanctions.

Recovery of the oil industry

PDVSA oil began to flow to the US and the EU again after March, when the Biden administration negotiated with the government of President Nicolas Maduro. The US and the EU are desperate to get oil from Venezuela because of the ongoing debacle of the US war against Russia in Ukraine.

With the help of chemical additives, new technology and machine parts from Iran, Venezuela has restored the oil industry and refineries are operating at levels not seen since the start of operations in the US under President Obama. There are still gas lines in some parts of Venezuela, but industry has fully recovered, and production is high. A gallon of gas in Caracas is about 36 cents.

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They harm your food

Similarly, following the agricultural policies initiated under President Hugo Chavez, Venezuela is able to become self-sufficient in food and will start exporting food in 2023. “We produce 94% of food in 2022 after importing 80% of everything. [in previous decades],” said Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in a New Year’s interview with Spanish journalist Ignacio Ramonet. Agricultural reform over the past 20 years has included land redistribution, hiring of Colombian farmers, and production designed to feed Venezuela’s 30 million people. Anyone who says Venezuelans are hungry is lying.

Today, CLAP’s food production and distribution program, which began in 2016, covers up to 85% of Venezuelan households. Boxes of staple foods and rice, beans, fruits and vegetables, even protein are delivered every two weeks at a low cost. The CLAP program (Comité Local de Abastecimiento y Producción, or Local Committees of Supply and Production) was established after US sanctions were imposed and large warehouse owners began bribing to create shortages and raise prices. Their plans failed.

While Venezuelan workers and farmers have been producing, much of the setup for production is due to the ability of Venezuela’s special envoy Alex Saab to negotiate and make trade deals, especially for food and oil. It has been more than 900 days since the US seized US Ambassador Saab to Cape Verde on charges of conspiracy. The kidnapped diplomat is being held by the US as a prisoner in Miami, Florida. A recent court ruling by a Miami judge ignored overwhelming evidence and rejected Saab’s diplomatic status. The judge’s logic is that if the US government does not recognize President Maduro, the court should not.

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A productive economy

While oil remains important to Venezuela’s economy, much of the growth is in new industries, with help from the national government. There are partnerships between the Venezuelan government, Venezuelan firms, and foreign companies that produce or assemble laptops, motorcycles, delivery trucks, and electric buses. Diversification and industrialization of Venezuela’s economy is the key, “freeing ourselves from the kind of capitalism that depends on oil” as President Maduro says.

Bolivarian determination to overcome US sanctions

It is clear that the US sanctions regime of Obama, Trump and now Biden is failing in its goals. In fact, it had the opposite effect – Venezuela’s economy was once again strengthened by separatism. It continues to be an economy focused on serving people rather than profit. Last year President Maduro announced the construction of 4.4 million new apartments and houses. These towns are replacing the worst slums, with many people living under plastic roofs, with garden pipes, and electric cables. New apartments are free or low cost and are owned by the occupants.

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Friends helping friends

The Bolivarian Revolution is succeeding under the leadership of President Maduro and the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, but it has good friends. Cuba and Iran are close friends, but China, Russia and Vietnam all have joint ventures or infrastructure projects in Venezuela. Turkey and India do business and trade with Venezuela, despite US sanctions. How could they not when both the EU and the US took over oil exports?

In today’s multipolar world where the US empire is declining, Latin American integration is full speed ahead. The US cannot isolate Venezuela. The new year of President Lula’s inauguration in Brazil marks a major change in Colombia, Venezuela and the region. The Bolivarian revolution, and Venezuela’s economy, could strengthen in the coming year. With Comandante Hugo Chavez’s tenth anniversary coming up on March 5, the PSUV and its millions of supporters will rededicate themselves to their Bolivarian principles and fight for a socialist future.


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