Their neighbors in Colombia often commented, “The Venezuelans fell out of the trees and into Cadillacs.”
world—exporting its natural resources to finance its debt instead of developing social programs.
During the administration of outgoing President Caldera, two-thirds of the country’s banks had collapsed and inflation had eroded the currency by 345 percent in just five years.
But at the same time, Chávez’s own supporters had coalesced into a well-organized and loyal group. Their passion for their president bordered on idolatry, especially among the poor because, even though the economy was still deteriorating, Chávez was giving them something that no president had given them before: hope.