This year, for my AP Human Geography class, we were assigned a project in which we would be designated a country and required to pick out 4 current articles about that country related to the geography of that country and write a summary on it and how it relates. Through my summarizing and research I found out a whole lot about the current issues faced by Venezuela’s people, most of which have to do with smuggling.
On August 12, 2014, the Venezuelan government, with the help and cooperation with the government of Colombia, officially shutdown the border between itself and Colombia. This was done to cut down on the massive and widespread smuggling operations between these two nation. Sources from the state’s petroleum and natural gas company, PDVSA, state that Venezuela loses 14% of its gasoline production to Colombia, but also to Brazil, although much less prevalent. The president also made the statement that if the trend of smuggling continues Venezuela’s lose of food products could top 40% of all imported goods. Officials say they have identified around 200 undiscovered smuggling routes which the majority of smuggled goods bypass, usually at night to avoid detection. They say closing public roads between the countries would root out those who use the secret paths. The widespread smuggling out of Venezuela is mainly caused by the cheap petroleum and food prices due to subsidization to keep the prices low. For example, a gallon of gasoline in Venezuela could cost around a penny at exchanges while it could cost up to 5 dollars in the neighboring Colombia. General in chief Vladimir Padrino Lopez made public that 10 and a half million gallons of gasoline and 12 thousand tonnes of food have been confiscated thus far. He also added that the shutdown would last for a minimum of 30 days depending on the success of the operation.
This article relates to geography by that it has to do with movement of goods between countries. The whole situation also began because of the physical geography of the land, plentiful gasoline and farmland, which lead to cheap prices. In addition to that, the landscape also makes it easy for smugglers to evade detection as the border is not guarded all the way along due to heavily forested and mountainous terrain. Finally, the cooperation between both the governments of Colombia and Venezuela is geographically relevant as well.
In July of 2014, prosecutors in Miami stated the head of Venezuelan military intelligence was discovered to have been receiving bribes from a Colombian drug lord and invested his own funds into drug transportation and shipment of thousands of kilograms of cocaine. The prosecution was brought about due to the former military intelligence chief, Hugo Caravajal, being arrested with a US arrest warrant and drug charges in Aruba, a Dutch colony, where he was consulting for the Venezuelan government. In addition to this, experts state that these charges helped fill in some information between drug traffickers and the Cartel of the Suns, a group of Venezuelan officials and military officers suspected of having ties in the drug trafficking world. Although, Hugo Caravajal, was released by the Dutch government, days later, much to the liking of Venezuela’s president of cabinet who stated it was an “illegal kidnapping”.
This article is geographically-related because it has to do with the drug-dealing world which flourishes due to the warm humid climate of the area it is being grown. Also, technically, cocaine is an agricultural product so it also goes under the category of agricultural geography. The country is also becoming in-stabilized, as it is, because of poverty throughout the nation which was caused by low infrastructure and weak government after previous inefficient and corrupt regimes.