TIMELINE: The unfolding Venezuelan humanitarian crisis

By The Signal reporter Alma Alvarez

The humanitarian crisis in Venezuela may have reached a high point these past few months as political tensions over humanitarian aid escalated. Venezuelans have faced severe food and medicine shortages due to an economy rocked by hyperinflation. Over 3 million Venezuelans have fled the country, most since 2015. To understand how Venezuela has reached its current state of crisis, it is necessary to look back at the country’s political tumult over the past six years.

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On Apr 1, 2019
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March 2013

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who won over the country's poor with 21st-century socialism during his 14-year rule, dies. Chavez endorses Nicolas Maduro to succeed him prior to his death on March 5, 2013. Maduro eventually goes on to win the presidential election by fewer than two percentage points over Henrique Capriles.

November 2013

Venezuela’s legislature, the National Assembly, grants Maduro special powers that allow him to govern by decree for one year in order to fight inflation and shortages of food and medicine.

February 2014

A wave of anti-government protests, amid a deepening economic crisis, erupts into clashes for over four months. The demonstrations are violently repressed, leaving 43 people dead. 

December 2014

Venezuela enters a recession because of plummeting oil prices. The inflation rate in 2014 surpasses 63 percent, the highest in the Americas.

2015

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The price of oil plummets to its lowest level in seven years, leading to major food and medicine shortages. Reports would later show that food shortages were so severe that Venezuelans lost an average of 19 between 2015 and 2016.

The price of oil plummets to its lowest level in seven years, leading to major food and medicine shortages. Reports would later show that food shortages were so severe that Venezuelans lost an average of 19 between 2015 and 2016.

Maduro declares a economic emergency in January and a constitutional state of emergency later in May.

March 2017

Venezuelas Supreme Court, which had consistently sided with the Socialist Party, announces it is taking over the functions of the National Assembly. The event sparks months of anti-government protests that ultimately leave more than 100 dead.

May 2018

In

In May, Maduro is re-elected as president with 68 percentage of the votes, despite claims of fraud from the opposition coalition. The U.S. decries the election as unfair and anti-democratic before any voting had even taken place.

An alliance of 14 Latin American nations and Canada, known as the Lima Group, releases a statement calling the vote illegitimate. They threaten to "decrease their diplomatic relations with Venezuela" and call back their ambassadors in Caracas for consultation.

January 2019

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Venezuelans took to street calling for Maduro to step down. Juan Guaidó, president of the National Assembly. Leading the opposition, claimed the presidency, citing emergency powers granted from the constitution. The U.S. quickly shows support for Guaidó. By Jan. 23, Maduro responds by severing diplomatic ties with the U.S., ordering all American diplomats out of the country within 72 hours.

February 2019

Maduro proposes to bring forward parliamentary elections for this year, as he seeks to crush the threat posed by Guaido. The parliamentary elections had been scheduled for 2020.