The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

The U.S. Is Driving People to Flee Venezuela

Jan 29, 2024

Over the last year, tens of thousands of Venezuelans have arrived in Chicago and other cities like New York and Boston.

These Venezuelans have been driven from their homes, first of all, by U.S. policies aimed at making sure U.S. corporations can continue to extract the maximum amount of profit from that country.

Venezuela has huge oil reserves—the biggest in the world. The wealth that oil produced has long been dominated by U.S. companies and a small Venezuelan ruling class. But starting in 1998, a series of Venezuelan presidents tried to keep a little bit more of that oil wealth in their own country.

The U.S. first reacted by trying to organize a coup in 2002, and then another in 2019—but those didn’t work. So instead, the U.S. has destroyed the Venezuelan economy. The Obama Administration first imposed sanctions and worked to undermine the Venezuelan oil company. The Trump administration imposed much harsher sanctions which pushed the Venezuelan economy into the free fall from which it has still not recovered. And the Biden administration has maintained the sanctions put in place by Trump.

While the U.S. claimed these moves were aimed against Venezuela’s leaders, the population bore the brunt. There are shortages of food and the prices are so high that ordinary workers cannot afford to buy enough for their families. Medicines have disappeared. Even many formerly privileged people have been reduced to poverty, and huge numbers of workers even lost the low-paying jobs that used to exist. In short, Venezuela has become unlivable for a large share of its population.

That’s why more than seven million people have fled Venezuela in the last decade. Most remain in nearby countries like Colombia, but hundreds of thousands have attempted the dangerous trek through Central America to reach the U.S.

U.S. politicians talk about this migration crisis as if it’s caused by Venezuela’s leaders. But in reality, the crisis in Venezuela was created here, by those same politicians’ actions in support of U.S. corporations’ quest for profit.