Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro is facing an existential crisis, and the country is already suffering from the impact of a crippling recession.
But the economic crisis is likely to get worse if a new administration is not installed and the economic boom is not kept alive, according to economists.
Maduro’s socialist administration is facing a deepening economic crisis as the economy continues to slide in line with a steep decline in oil prices, according a new report released Thursday by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
It argues that the economic impact of Maduro’s economic policies could be worse than the collapse of Venezuela’s socialist economy, which has plunged into crisis since the 2011 election of Nicolás Maduro.
Maduro has already faced a wave of protests over his handling of the economy.
Inflation has soared by more than 50 percent since late 2015, according the World Bank.
The United States has also sharply curbed imports of Venezuelan crude oil, the country’s main export.
Maduro, who won a landslide election in March 2018, has been accused of using the Bolivarian socialist movement as a cover for his brutal crackdown on dissent.
Maduro blames his economic problems on US-backed foreign mercenaries, drug cartels and rogue soldiers, who have been using Venezuelan territory as staging areas for smuggling.
He has blamed them for many of Venezuela s worst problems.
The new report said that the number of foreign mercenaries working in Venezuela had more than doubled since the start of the crisis.
It said some of these people are involved in drug trafficking, and some are involved with military units.
Many of the mercenaries are former military officers.
It also noted that some of them are still being paid by the government.
“The Venezuelan government continues to use these mercenary groups as a vehicle for funding its war on dissent and opponents, which is creating a huge humanitarian crisis,” said Robert Spitzer, an expert on Venezuelan security and the Americas at the Carnegie Center for Global Policy.
“This is not a new phenomenon, this is a pattern that is well documented,” Spitzer said.
“And the Venezuelan government is increasingly using mercenaries to enforce its control of the country and the Venezuelan people.”
Venezuela has been a key beneficiary of US military assistance.
It is a NATO member that receives some of the largest amounts of US arms in the world.
The U.S. has provided military assistance to Venezuela since 1999.
It provided $17 billion in military aid between 2016 and 2017.
The latest figures, which were provided to The Associated Press, also showed that Venezuela has received $1.6 billion in non-lethal aid.
Venezuela has also received $3.1 billion in food assistance.
The International Monetary Fund estimates that more than half of Venezuelas food aid goes to households.