AP Photo

When you think of humanitarian crises, they’re usually caused by war or some natural disaster like a drought or earthquake.

But in Venezuela today millions of people face shortages of food and medicines for a different reason: the spectacular mismanagement of its economy.

By one estimate, Venezuelans spend an average of 35 hours a month standing in lines to buy food. All of this has led to huge protests against President Nicolás Maduro’s government and an effort by the opposition to recall him from office. 

On this edition of Global Journalist, a look at the escalating crisis in Venezuela. 


For 50 years Marxist rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC, have battled that country’s government in Latin America’s longest-running insurgency.

During that time, more than 200,000 people have been killed, including 177,000 civilians, and about 5.7 million Colombians have been displaced from their homes by the fighting.

But in September the Colombian government and the FARC signed a draft peace agreement at a meeting in Cuba to end what many have viewed as an intractable conflict. 

Fernando Llano / AP

Venezuela is a country that should, by all accounts, be doing quite well. It’s one of the top oil-producing countries in the world.

But the South American nation also has one of the highest murder rates in the world, a government whose officials are accused of selling drugs, and millions living below the poverty line. Not only that, the country's economy is crumbling, and the government is notorious for clamping down on journalists who challenge it on these issues.


  When journalism professor Karen Mitchell woke up Monday morning, she didn’t expect to be a target for Internet hackers with a political agenda.

Mitchell teaches convergence journalism at the University of Missouri and co-manages the @MUConvergence Twitter account with three other faculty members. Mostly journalism students, faculty and professional journalists follow the micro-blogging account.

At 11 p.m. Sunday, the hackers tweeted from the convergence account, and identified themselves as activists from the Venezuela Electronic Army.

An economic crisis in a country with one of the highest murder rates in the world has led to a month of sometimes violent demonstrations in Venezuela. Polarization between supporters and opponents of President Nicolás Maduro's leftist government has left little room for compromise.

Franklin Reyes / AP Images

World leaders from five continents gathered in Caracas on Friday to pay their last respects for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. The Venezuelan leader held the country's presidency from 1999 until his death earlier this week.