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On Monday, 7th December the population of Venezuela voted for a new parliament and gave the opposition a majority of seats in the National Assembly. This means that the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) will not be in control of the Congress for the first time in nearly 20 years.
This election, which achieved a near 75% turnout, was received as a shock for the PSUV, but President Nicolás Maduro accepted the adverse results and called out his party to follow suit.
The Venezuelan economy has been hit by the low oil price, which is the main export. The country has also been experiencing shortages of basic goods such as milk, sugar and flour. The IMF reported that the country has an inflation of +100%, which is expected to reach 200% by 2016, and a shrinking GDP of -10%.
Last month, Argentina also asked for a change by electing Mauricio Macri, from the centre-right party as their president, concluding 12 years of government by the Peronist Party. Furthermore this week, the President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, faces impeachment procedures for mismanaging the country’s budget for 2014.
Some of the best thoughts on these changing scenes in LATAM come from the global periodical El País which, in a recent opinion piece written originally in Spanish, summed-up some of the feelings.
It talks about how uncertain the future of the Spanish-speaking America is and that hopefully, these opportunities won’t go to waste. It also emphasises how the region should now focus on balancing the social gaps and end corruption as ‘a way of life’.
Last word goes to Venezuela and President Maduro who says that despite his party’s setback, he continues to defend the interest of ordinary Venezuelans. He still plans to complete the ‘Bolivarian Revolution’ started by Chávez.
These new political and social changes will increment the country’s competitive advantage amongst its South American neighbours; bringing waves of international investment and opening to new market opportunities, which will be beneficial not only for Venezuela, but for the region.
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