Blog Post #1
On Thursday, we sent two volunteers to Joyce Kilmer Upper School, one of our partner schools, at which we teach an eighth grade Civics class. We discussed the current political and economic crisis in Venezuela. Although many of the students had not previously heard of the current situation, they quickly caught on to the factors which caused the breakdown of the Venezuelan economy and the crisis of President Nicolás Maduro’s leadership. We talked at length about the economic crisis created by former President Hugo Chávez’s massive social programs, which were funded by Venezuela’s oil revenue but deteriorated once the price of oil plummeted following the 2008 economic crisis. We ended the class with a discussion of the international community’s role in Venezuela. We posed the question of whether the United States or perhaps the United Nations could intervene to keep the peace in the country, and if that would even be possible given political limitations. However, it begs the question of what responsibility the rest of the world bears to step in when the people of a country are no longer rightfully represented by their government. And if we can get students thinking about those big-picture questions, that’s what this is all about.