Since the election of Hugo Chávez Frias to the Venezuelan presidency in 1998, followed by Nicolás Maduro in 2013, Venezuela has endured steady decline with the approval of the new constitution in 1999, concentration of presidential power, the capture of state and private institutions, gradual control over the press, mismanagement of its national oil company and establishment of a failed political project known as the “socialism of the 21 st century.” With 81.8 percent of Venezuelan households in poverty, 1.5 million of its citizens leaving the country, 78 percent of medical centers suffering from a supply of medications, an inflation rate that may pass 2,300 percent in 2018, oil revenues cut by half and shortages of gasoline , Chávez and Maduro literally ruined the country. These economic challenges have influenced foreign relations. Alliances sought to counter the United States are starting to backfire. The official line is that the […]