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Luisa Vieria.

Stories we overlooked in 2022

A handful of stories – the war in Ukraine, China’s zero-COVID policy, and US elections – have dominated much of the media coverage this year. Meanwhile, many other crucial global stories have been woefully undercovered. We take a look at four of them.

Venezuela: The challenge of migrating again

Since strongman President Nicolás Maduro responded with an iron fist to widespread protests in 2014 over shortages of goods and sky-high inflation, Venezuela has been subject to more severe US economic sanctions that have put its already-struggling economy on life support. (One of the first sanctions was imposed by the Bush administration in 2006 over Caracas’ failure to crack down on drug trafficking and terrorism.)

As a result of the economic and political crises gripping the country, more than 7 million Venezuelans have fled since 2015, making it one of the world’s largest migrant crises. For those who stayed behind, their quality of life is abysmal: Joblessness is rife, the medical system is in tatters, and more than 67% live in extreme poverty. Meanwhile, most of those who fled sought refuge in Latin America, mainly in Colombia, where they have struggled to find jobs – forcing many women to resort to sex work or even to sell their hair to survive.

But 2022 brought fresh challenges for Venezuela's migrant population. Global inflation has disrupted Latin America’s gig economy, which many Venezuelan migrants rely on to get by. As a result, thousands have been forced to uproot their lives – again – resulting in new migration routes to North America.

Consider that in the first 10 months of this year, Venezuelans accounted for 70% of people who trekked through the Darien Gap, a perilous crossing between Colombia and Panama that’s submerged in dense jungle and swarming with drug cartels and guerrilla groups. The US recently lifted some sanctions on Venezuela's oil sector in a bid to offset losses from Russia. But Washington is still a long way off from reaching any agreements with the Maduro regime that would rescue Caracas’ economy.

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Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

Reuters

Why Washington is chatting up Nicolás Maduro again

You can isolate some of the oil-rich strongmen all of the time, or all of the oil-rich strongmen some of the time, but that’s about it these days, as Joe Biden is quickly learning.

Last week, it emerged that the White House is exploring ways to relax certain sanctions against the Venezuelan regime of Nicolás Maduro. Under a proposed deal, Washington would allow US oil major Chevron to resume exporting oil from the country while Maduro, for his part, would agree to restart talks with the opposition about free and fair elections.

As a reminder, a 2018 crisis brought on by Maduro’s repression and economic mismanagement drove millions of Venezuelans abroad. It also landed the country under “maximum pressure” financial and energy sanctions from the US, which were designed to squeeze Maduro — the heir to “21st Century Socialist” Hugo Chávez — from power.

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“I’m a Fighter” — Colombia’s New Leftist President | GZERO World with Ian Bremmer

Gustavo Petro: the guerilla-turned-president who wants to "develop capitalism"

Colombia is Latin America’s longest-standing democracy, but it’s never elected a leftist president … until now.

Gustavo Petro swept to power by a slim margin in June, thanks largely to young Colombian voters. What do they want from him? Change.

It won't be easy. Petro wants to provide free university education and health care, to end oil exploration, and to tax the rich. Will he deliver?

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Chilean demonstrators take part in a rally against migrants and delinquency in Iquique, Chile, on January 30, 2022.

REUTERS/Alex Diaz

Hard Numbers: Chileans protest Venezuelan migrants, US rent on the rise, Myanmar coup anniversary, Benefits of Brexit

4,000: More than 4,000 Chileans demonstrated Monday in the northern city of Iquique against migration from Venezuela in response to a video of Venezuelan criminals attacking Chilean police at a checkpoint. Chile, one of South America’s wealthiest states, has seen a recent influx of migrants fleeing Venezuela’s deteriorating economy.

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Guaidó to GZERO: "Freedom" is the goal

Guaidó to GZERO: "Freedom" is the goal

Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader recognized as Venezuela's interim president by more than 50 countries, returned on Monday to Venezuela after nearly two weeks abroad.

His homecoming reignites the contest for power between him and President Nicolás Maduro, who still controls much of the government and the military, despite plummeting popularity and a deepening humanitarian crisis.

Guaidó shared a few words with GZERO Media just moments after he landed and rushed into a crowd of cheering supporters at Caracas' Simón Bolívar Airport. His comments are among the first he has made to foreign media since returning to Venezuela.

Venezuela's Saturday Showdown

On Saturday, emergency supplies of food and medicine are expected to arrive in Venezuela by land and sea. Venezuela's military, still loyal to President Nicolas Maduro, vows to stop the aid from entering. In a time of national crisis, the credibility of both the government and the opposition is now squarely on the line.

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Voices From Inside Venezuela

Voices From Inside Venezuela

Living in an economic collapse and humanitarian crisis, feelings of hopelessness take hold of the people of Venezuela.

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