Venezuela’s Exodus

The northern Brazilian city of Boa Vista must have the cleanest car windscreens in the entire country. This is because on almost every street corner, at every junction, and around every roundabout, there is a Venezuelan, or four, offering their services. Their partners and children sheltering from the sun in some nearby shade.

Whether they were teachers, builders, doctors, carpenters, chefs, farmers, bankers, or shop assistants previously, they are now self-employed car washers and roadside salespeople. Cardboard signs serve the dual purpose of promoting their work and potential, whilst also providing some cover from the intense heat which accompanies their daily 12-hour shifts.

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Black Gold: US Foreign Policy and Its Relationship With Oil

I remember talking to some Syrian officials whilst I was in the Turkmen mountains. They were asking me why nobody was doing anything about the situation that was unfolding in their country. Why were the US not interfering, and preventing the slaughter of thousands of innocent civilians? The only answer I could give was based on my limited knowledge of American foreign policy.

I told the Syrians that the US cared little for the people of Syria because the US had little to gain from the country. Unlike in Iraq, there were no oil fields and so the US would not risk their own men, and spend their own money, if they were going to get nothing but thanks in return.

I walked away from these meetings content with my answers, but wondering if perhaps I was being a little too simplistic. Surely making decisions in the White House was a more complex procedure than simply asking: “What can we gain?”

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