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Venezuela: Economic Stability

Volume 646: debated on Tuesday 4 September 2018

We are deeply concerned by the severe economic challenges and deepening humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, and indeed by their impact on the wider region. We have noted the Government’s recently announced economic measures, but it remains to be seen whether they are going to improve the situation in any way at all.

An oil-rich nation that once boasted the highest living standards of the whole of Latin America has now been plunged into starvation and crisis as a result of years of socialist policy and the removal of democracy. Does my right hon. Friend join me in condemning those who have imposed socialism and removed democracy in Venezuela, and those who have given them succour from the House of Commons?

I must say that I do. Venezuela enjoys the world’s largest proven oil reserves and it has the largest gas reserves in Latin America, but all of these are being squandered. It has had years of economic mismanagement based on outdated and misguided ideologies, and it cannot even provide the most basic necessities for its people. The country is facing rampant inflation. This is an example of how one man at the top of a country can destroy that country’s economy and prospects.

Clearly, a precondition for resolving the dreadful situation in Venezuela is an early end to the disastrous communist Maduro regime and a return to parliamentary democracy, but the desperate people of Venezuela—those in the country and the millions in exile—need food and medical supplies now. What are the Minister and the Department for International Development doing about that?

I have to say to the right hon. Gentleman that DFID has limited experience in Latin America. We would like to be doing more, and there has been the provision of humanitarian advice, but I would be the first to admit that that is not nearly enough to address the seriousness of the plight that Venezuelans face. As he rightly says, millions of people have left Venezuela and these problems are now affecting neighbouring countries in a serious way. We are working closely with the Lima group, led by the Peruvian Foreign Minister, to do what we can to try to change the disastrous situation in Venezuela.