President Obama urges Venezuela and political prisoners to respect constitution

There are, reportedly, 2,000 people in Venezuela in prison, under home arrest or on probation for political reasons. There is a concern that the rule of law and powers are not respected in the country. The country has experienced serious deteriorations in democracy, human rights, the economy and the functioning of the society triggered by a drop in oil prices and excessive government spending. Venezuela faces a “grave”crisis due to shortages of food and medicine, and to add to the misery, the government is preventing entry of humanitarian aid into the country, and boycotting various international initiatives to assist civil society.

Looking at this situation, US President Obama has urged the Venezuelan government the rule of law, including allowing the release of political prisoners.

Given the very serious situation in Venezuela and the worsening plight of the Venezuelan people, together we’re calling on the government and opposition to engage in meaningful dialogue and urge the Venezuelan government to respect the rule of law and the authority of the national assembly,” Obama said at a news conference with the leaders of Canada and Mexico.

The economic crisis, which is due to inefficient governance, and the high violence on the streets is due to complete impunity.

The question now remains, how can Venezuela be saved? Well, for one Venezuela has the largest known crude oil reserves in the world. No one company will be able to pay enough to match what these assets are truly worth. Instead, the government should break up the map and auction off plots individually. Venezuela could even keep some assets to exploit later with a revamped national oil company or to sell at a later date. This is the easiest way to bring massive revenue to the country quickly.

Secondly, Venezuela is known for its nationalized oil and for its state-run economy. Moreover, because of the failing economy there is great fear of upcoming lawlessness. Venezuela needs to convince foreign oil investors that it will enforce and strictly implement the law and permit the oil companies to operate unimpeded by excessive regulation and minimum government interference. The risk might be great for foreign oil investors but the rewards are potentially huge given the extent of Venezuela’s proven oil reserves.

Thus, major overhauling needs to be done to the state-run companies, central bank and other government entities to increase the country's efficiency. By engaging cooperatively and transparently with the World Bank, international financial institutions and capital markets, the country will improve the prospects for raising billions of dollars needed to rebuild Venezuela’s crumbling infrastructure and productivity.