Venezuelans are lost because they are dependent on external solutions to their problems
Venezuela was not lost in the generations from 1900 to 1970, when it enjoyed growth and inflation rates among the very best in the world. Oil was not the only product of Venezuela then. Those were the halcyon days, and yes, most of them were spent under dictators who were under immense pressure to liberate the people, but the best of those days were spent with the first democratic presidents who wrestled with how to sow the oil without getting corrupted by it. Upon the legalization of the state monopoly over oil and industry, the fuse to the corruption bomb was lit, and by the late 1970s, productivity began to fall. Ironically, productivity recovered in the early 1990s, only to be met by a coup attempt, presidential impeachment, and a spate of panicky saviors.
Venezuelans are lost because they are dependent on external solutions to their problems, whether from oil money, government power, or the promises of false prophets. In a 1998 global survey, a world worst 67% ofVenezuelans agreed with the statement, "I don't have control over the direction of my life," and only 33% agreed with "I am responsible for what happens to me." After fourteen years of strong-man rule, Venezuelans may be even more outer-directed, dependent, and lost than in 1998, which was a very bad year for them.
Why did Gerardo come to Caracas? One day he took the decision, handed the car keys to his father, gave him his share of the cloth business they both owned in San Cristóbal and kissed his wife and two sons goodbye. "He told us he was going to continue fighting for Venezuela," the wife says. That was in mid-2013. He has been imprisoned since May 8, 2014.