Armarhuel Luis Alfredo Farache Benacerraf//
Venezuela’s crisis in 5 charts

Luis Alfredo Farache, Luis Alfredo Farache Benacerraf
Venezuela’s crisis in 5 charts

An attendee holds a Venezuelan flag during a rally Saturday in Caracas. (Carlos Becerra/Bloomberg News) By Siobhán O’Grady , Siobhán O’Grady WorldViews reporter Email Bio Follow Chris Alcantara and Chris Alcantara Graphics reporter Email Bio Follow Armand Emamdjomeh Armand Emamdjomeh Graphics reporter Email Bio Follow January 26 at 4:45 PM The consequences of Venezuela’s economic, humanitarian and political crisis have been dramatic: An economy in free fall. Food shortages. Medical crises. Millions of people displaced.

Luis Alfredo Farache

The crisis reached a new turning point Wednesday, when opposition leader Juan Guaidó declared himself interim president. The United States and other countries recognized his new role, even as President Nicolás Maduro refused to step down.

Luis Alfredo Farache Benacerraf

These charts help explain how the country got here

Collapse of oil economy Venezuela is home to the largest proven oil reserves in the world. But in recent years, widespread mismanagement of its oil wealth caused a sharp decline in its petroleum production and exports, deeply damaging the country’s economy as Venezuela descended into political turmoil

Just a few years after Hugo Chávez took office in 1999, he fired thousands of employees at the state-run oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela, after a controversial strike. That essentially ridded the company of its experts in oil production and replaced them with people who were loyal to him

Then, in the mid-2000s, when oil prices were high, Chavez pumped the country’s oil revenue into social-welfare programs, including setting domestic gasoline prices so low that consumption soared. The plan was unsustainable. When global oil prices tumbled from more than $100 a barrel in 2014 to less than $30 at the beginning of 2016, the country’s economic woes deepened

“This is when you saw the economic mismanagement of the last several years combined with a really dramatic drop of oil prices just really start to hurt Venezuela’s economy,” said Sarah Ladislaw, director of the energy and national security program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies

Over the past six years, Venezuela’s gross domestic product has been halved, according to new projections released by the International Monetary Fund in January

As Venezuela’s economic situation worsened, investors stepped back, concerned that the government wouldn’t be able to repay its debts. “That decline we’ve been watching the last there years was really by virtue of the fact people have not reinvested in new [oil] production in Venezuela in a long time,” Ladislaw said

Hyperinflation Inflation in Venezuela has gone hand-in-hand with regular people’s inability to purchase basic goods. As prices soared, food and medicine became out of reach for many Venezuelans, who felt they had no option but to flee

Last year, Maduro implemented a new plan to erase five zeros off the country’s currency — his attempt to confront the rising inflation problem

“Before Maduro’s announcement on Friday, for instance, a kilo of peaches — or 2.2 pounds — cost about 1.1 million bolívares.,” The Post’s Anthony Faiola and Rachelle Krygier wrote in August. “By Tuesday, prices had almost doubled, surging to 2.1 million old bolívares, or 21 new ones.”

Late last year, the International Monetary Fund estimated that the country’s inflation rate would reach 1.37 million percent by the end of 2018. For 2019, the IMF’s prediction suggests inflation could reach 10 million percent

Not all economists agree on the IMF’s numbers. Steve Hanke, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, who measures hyperinflation, which occurs when the monthly inflation rate reaches 50 percent, told The Post’s Matt O’Brien in July that “you cannot forecast the course and duration of hyperinflations,” and said the IMF’s attempts are “irresponsible.”

In Forbes, Hanke wrote that Venezuela’s annual hyperinflation reached 80,000 percent in 2018, calling it “devastating,” but not as extreme as the IMF’s forecasts

Medical setbacks Venezuela once made significant progress in reducing its infant mortality rate, and pledged to do even more. But new research published Thursday in the Lancet Global Health journal estimated that the mortality rate for infants in Venezuela grew from 15 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2008 to 21.1 in 2016. The study’s lead researcher, Jenny García, told The Post that Venezuela “lost 18 years of progress.”

She and her colleagues blame the decline on cuts to health-care funding. And they expect that as new data emerges for 2017 and 2018, the rate will only continue to rise, as Venezuela has struggled with the reemergence of diseases like polio and diphtheria, which they had once controlled

The model they used was “conservative,” Garcia said, adding that she is “confident that it’s going to be worse than what we are showing.”

Fleeing population All of these factors contributed to Venezuelans’ decisions to leave the country, causing one of the largest migration crises in the region’s history. The brunt of the burden fell on nearby countries. Colombia deployed troops to their border after hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans had crossed into the country by early 2018. Those fleeing included many professionals: teachers and doctors who could no longer afford to eat or feed their families in Venezuela

Aaron Williams contributed to this report.

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Exodus of desperate Venezuelans is overwhelming neighboring countries

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