May 26, 2018

Venezuela losing hope as Maduro is re-elected

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. Photo: Federico Parra/AFP/Getty Images

Venezuela is facing a bleak future after the sham re-election of President Nicolás Maduro last weekend; the Wall Street Journal's Anatoly Kurmanaev writes that what's left "is exile or further misery."

The big picture: The overwhelming economic crisis in Venezuela has spurred a global migrant crisis — around 5,000 Venezuelans are fleeing each day — and Kurmanaev says Maduro's election "snuffed out the last glimmer of hope that their lives can improve."

The state of play: Hyperinflation is on track to reach 14,000% this year while the economy will have diminished by 35% in five years, at the end of 2018, per WSJ.

  • The poverty rate "rose from 48% to 87%" from 2014-2017 as 10% of Venezuelans — around 3 million — have fled the crime-stricken country.
  • However, many of the ruling elite are "barred...from trips to the U.S. and much of Europe."

Weak cash flow: Per Kurmanaev: "Cash is extremely scarce, card payment networks are overloaded, cell phone coverage is worse than in Syria, and online banking systems constantly crash because of underinvestment. Paying for a cup of coffee can take an hour."

Go deeper

Ivanka Trump plans focus on coronavirus recovery for small businesses

Ivanka Trump speaks at yesterday's White House videoconference with bank and credit card executives. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Ivanka Trump personally lobbied top bank executives to line up the $1.5 billion in commitments to small business that were announced yesterday at a videoconference among the bank executives and President Trump — stoking competitive juices among the execs to drive up their commitments.

The state of play: Ivanka, who has had workforce development in her portfolio going back to 2017, plans an increasing emphasis on small businesses in the weeks ahead as they navigate the rescue bill’s Payroll Protection Program, sources tell me.

Public transit's death spiral

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Public transit systems across the country are experiencing a painful trifecta: Ridership has collapsed, funding streams are squeezed, and mass transit won't bounce back from the pandemic nearly as fast as other modes of transportation.

Why it matters: Transit agencies could see an annual shortfall of as much as $38 billion due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to TransitCenter. At the same time, they're more important than ever, with more than 36% of essential workers relying on public transportation to get to work.

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates: London mayor says U.K. nowhere near lockdown lifting

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern offered hope in the fight against the novel coronavirus, saying she believes New Zealand has "turned a corner" after two weeks of strict lockdown measures. But London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said the U.K. is "nowhere near" lifting restrictions.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed over 82,000 people and infected 1.4 million others globally as of early Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data. Global recoveries have surpassed 301,000. Spain has reported the most cases outside the U.S. (more than 141,000) and Italy the most deaths (over 17,000). Half the planet's population is on lockdown.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health