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Brain drain in Venezuela

The crisis in Venezuela leads to more and more expert-workers leaving the country

Empty supermarket in Caracas Venezuela - image by sunsinger/
Empty supermarket in Caracas Venezuela

Venezuelans feel the effects of the continuing political and economic crisis. Empty supermarket shelves due to a widespread lack of food and medicine and an extremely high inflation in Venezuela lead to a growing number of educated and experienced employees and workers leave the country every month.

More than 4 million Venezuelans have already left the country in the last ten years.

Last year, inflation in Venezuela was as high as 2000%. Inflation means that prices are higher than the year before. The inflation rate in the UK stood at the same time at 0.6% and in the USA at 1.3%. This shows that in Venezuela the inflation rate is so high that people cannot afford to buy food, medicines and basic goods as the salaries do not increase in a similar rate to the cost of living.

Thus many Venezuelan flee to the neighbouring countries Colombia and Brazil or even further afield in search of better living conditions. The oil industry in particular is increasingly feeling the strain of having lost many experienced employees, this is called brain drain. Engineers and technicians working in the oil industry are not able anymore to support their families with the meagre salaries they receive in Venezuela. Alone in the first three months of this year, about one fifth of all employees in the oil sector have quit their jobs.

"The oil industry is being left without specialized staff. This is forcing it to hire staff who have no knowledge." Ivan Freitas, secretary general of the gas and oil industry trade union Sindicato de Trabajadores Petroleros y Gasiferos.

However, not only the oil industry struggles to keep its employees, brain drain is effecting all industry sectors as especially university-educated experts flee the country.

Venezuela is a country on the northern coastline of South America. The country has 32 million inhabitants of which more than 80% live in poverty. Venezuela has the world's largest proven oil reserves. Production, however, has more than halved from 3.5 million barrels daily in 1998 to about 1.6 million barrels today. However, more than 60% of the refineries, now stand still.

Venezuela is ranked as one of the most corrupt countries in the world especially due to the involvement in drug trafficking. Nicolás Maduro of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela is the country's president since 2013. There are violent protests against the government. Last year more than 100 people were killed in these protests.

image: Sunsinger/


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