PRAYER ALERT on Venezuelan protests. Venezuelan protests entered their seventh week with no end in sight. Hungry citizens are waiting in lines for up to 12 hours at supermarkets. Then they enter only to find their desired items have sold out. Or that the hyperinflated prices are far beyond what they can afford.
“Just 20 years ago, Venezuela was close to being a first world nation with an expanding middle class,” said William Murray, chairman of the Religious Freedom Coalition. “Today it is in ruins, with riots in the streets and the highest murder rate in the Americas. People literally kill for food.” According to Murray, the steep economic decline started with the election in 1999 of socialist president Hugo Chavez.
Chavez introduced utopian central planning which limited free enterprise and put many businesses under government control. He relied on riches from Venezuela’s oil reserves—the largest in the world—to finance many programs for the poor. The lower classes began to see Chavez as their champion, and re-elected him three times. Yet global human rights organizations cited him for authoritarianism, violations of journalists’ and workers’ rights, and politically motivated arrests.
Chavez also used his oil riches to gain influence in Latin America, the Caribbean and beyond. He formed alliances with the socialist governments of Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua, and sought to undercut US power in the Western Hemisphere. Chavez sold his oil cheaply to his allies. Under the PetroCaribe program, he gave generous loans to Caribbean countries at only one percent interest. He planned to build an economic empire. But it all started to come crashing down even before his death by cancer on March 5, 2013.
(See Wikipedia, Hugo Chavez).
Economists say his overspending on social programs and his strict business policies have strained the country’s economy. The escalating inflation and poverty and shortage of essentials in Chavez’ final years continued in Madura’s socialist administration. Now many have resorted to eating dogs, cats, pigeons and even garbage to survive. Power outages led Maduro to declare a two-day workweek to conserve electricity. Idle workers have joined the ranks of hundreds of thousands of demonstrators engaging in Venezuelan protests against Maduro and demanding elections. Instead, Maduro has ordered the rewriting of Venezuela’s constitution, apparently to delay elections.
PRAY FOR GOD TO…
- Bring His church into unity in prayer. To seek, find and agree on His way through this severe political and economic crisis.
- Bring peace to the rioters. To move the demonstrators beyond protests toward the solutions that the church is praying for. To show His way to economic recovery, and favor to those leaders who will best follow His way.
- Set the course for free and fair elections in which there are clear choices. To establish the authority of those candidates who will best steward Venezuela’s riches and cooperate with God’s plans.
- Bring forth individual testimonies of answers to prayer, and a national recovery so miraculous, that many will give glory to Jesus and receive Him as Lord.
- Shift the national mindset toward an active faith in God’s grace instead of dependency on the state.
DailyInsight. Every crisis is a vaccuum for either violence or peace to invade (see Ps. 46:9-10).
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