Fair warning, this was not a feel-good episode of Last Week Tonight like “everything looks okay at the pudding factory” or “a genocide that only happens to balloon animals.” Instead, Sunday night’s episode focused on Venezuela, “the country famous for giving us oil, seven Miss Universes, six Miss Worlds, and one Wilmer Valderrama,” who John Oliver likes to think of as “the Miss Universe of That ’70s Show.”
The situation in Venezuela is dire, thanks to what Oliver calls the “epic mismanagement” of a country that has left its population starving, despite its large oil reserves. The roots of the problem lie with former president Hugo Chavez, who was popular thanks to his oil-funded social programs. However, he didn’t save oil revenue — then the price of oil plummeted and Chavez passed away, leaving the leadership of Venezuela to his chosen successor Nicolás Maduro.
Under Maduro’s leadership, the country has entered a downward spiral and inflation, predicted to hit 13,000 percent in 2018, has made it nearly impossible for people to buy food.
Now, Venezuelans are starving thanks to the so-called “Maduro diet”, which Oliver notes sound healthy, but is actually horrifying, like saying ”Jim Jones is the pioneer of the Jonestown juice cleanse.“ Maduro’s plans to beat hunger include a proposal to breed rabbits for food (“the rabbit plan”) and introducing a new currency (“with three zeroes lopped off the end”) and they have not worked. Maduro has also refused to accept donations of medicine, food, and humanitarian aid.
According to Oliver, Maduro is now blaming the U.S. for Venezuela’s woes, which with the U.S.’s track record in Latin America, Oliver says “is not completely out of character, it just happens to not be true in this particular instance.”
See his scathing take on Maduro’s leadership above.