The Rise and Fall of Venezuela: A Self Destructing Economy and a Talent Exodus

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Lately, Venezuela has made headlines for all the wrong reasons. Whether it’s to cover hyperinflation, lack of food, or the plummeting economy, coverage of the former Latin American powerhouse is dire. As of 2017, Venezuela was home to 31M people, with the highest concentration in Caracas, the capital. A reported 2.5 million Venezuelans have fled and 90% of emigration has happened within the past 15 years as the economy has worsened.

In the past, Venezuela was a shining example of established democracy in South America, but due to political unrest, the economy has taken a turn for the worse. The 750% inflation rate (which is actually probably higher) has led to insurmountable shortages or basic goods and turmoil for citizens. It’s to the point where some restaurants ask you to pay your bill when you order your meal, because prices will be higher after dinner. The average wage for those lucky enough to have a job is now US$11 month, of which only US$5 is actual money. The balance is a food allowance, which makes it nearly imposible to survive.

You can find entrepreneurial, talented Venezuelans on Upwork and other platforms working abroad and earning money in dollars just to have enough money to survive. Others have turned to mining Bitcoin using subsidized electricity. Most of the most talented people have left the country. I’ve run into medical doctors driving Uber in Houston and Miami, lawyers and engineers running property companies in Chile and extremely talented people working across all professions all around the world. Continue reading…