Economic sanctions against countries whose behavior is reproached by the West operate as punishment although they fail in their declared political objectives, and in cases such as Venezuela the contrast is clearly on display in the windows of high-end stores that sell imported goods.
Numerous countries of the developing South are distancing themselves from the contenders in the war in Ukraine, using the debate on the conflict to underscore their independence and pave the way for a kind of new de facto non-alignment with regard to the main axes of world power.
The voracious search for gold in southern Venezuela, practiced by thousands of illegal miners under the protection of various armed groups, represents the greatest threat today to the lives of indigenous peoples, their habitat and their cultures, according to their organizations and human rights defenders.
The oil and gas supply crisis unleashed by the Russian invasion of Ukraine represents new business opportunities for the oil-producing countries of the developing South, both traditional and emerging, and also for accelerating the global transition to green forms of energy.
Doris Martínez was a cook in a Venezuelan restaurant that closed its doors; she emigrated to Colombia, got sick from working long hours standing in front of a stove, and returned to her country where, together with her husband and children, she runs a busy fast food kiosk on a road in Valles del Tuy, near the Venezuelan capital.
The Covax initiative, the hope of the countries of the developing South to immunize their populations against COVID-19, only met half of its goals in 2021. And as 2022 begins, and the omicron variant of the virus is spreading fast, the scheme still depends on the decisions of pharmaceutical companies and the goodwill of donor governments.
The exodus of more than five million Venezuelans in the last six years has led countries in the developing South, Venezuela's neighbours, to set an example with respect to welcoming and integrating displaced populations, with shared benefits for the new arrivals and the nations that receive them.
Thousands of families in the Venezuelan capital have dipped into their savings or gone into debt, in the midst of the worst economic crisis in this country since the 19th century, so that their building has access to a well that will supply the water that has stopped running from the faucet.
Remittances that support millions of households in Latin America and the Caribbean have plunged as family members lose jobs and income in their host countries, with entire families sliding back into poverty, as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis and global economic recession.
The oil slump, global recession and uncertainty about the magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic will fuel the appetite for cheaper fossil fuel energy and delay investments in renewables, affecting the targets of the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Health systems in Latin America, already falling short in their capacity to serve the population, especially the poor, are in a weak position and face serious risks when it comes to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.
The violent repression that prevented food and medical aid from crossing into Venezuela, which left at least four people dead and 58 with gunshot wounds, has distanced solutions to what is today Latin America's biggest political crisis, although 10 countries in the hemisphere are stepping up the pressure while at the same time ruling out the use of force.
The international food and medical aid awaiting entry into Venezuela from neighboring Colombia, Brazil and Curacao is at the crux of the struggle for power between President Nicolás Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaidó, recognised as "legitimate president" by 50 governments.
The protests in Venezuela demanding an end to the presidency of Nicolás Maduro in the last 10 days of January, whose soundtrack was the sound of banging on pots and pans in working-class neighbourhoods, had a high human cost: more than 40 deaths, dozens wounded and about a thousand detainees, including 100 women and 90 children under 18.
Venezuela entered a new and astonishing arena of political confrontation, with two presidents, Nicolás Maduro and Juan Guaidó, leading the forces vying for power, while Venezuelans once again are taking to the streets to demonstrate their weariness at the crisis, which has left them exhausted.
They sell their houses, cars, motorcycles, household goods, clothes and ornaments - if they have any - even at derisory prices, save up a few dollars, take a bus and, in many cases, for the first time ever travel outside their country: they are the migrants who are fleeing Venezuela by the hundreds of thousands.
The murder of journalists and changing forms of censorship show that freedom of expression and information are still under siege in Latin America, particularly in the countries with the greatest social upheaval and political polarisation.
On-line media have taken the lead, ahead of the conventional media, in reporting in the tense political and economic climate in Venezuela, where freedom of speech and of information are under siege.
Corruption in the Venezuelan state oil industry, denounced by the government itself, and with former ministers and senior managers behind bars, is the latest evidence that, in the country with the largest oil reserves on the planet, the industry on which the economy depends is falling apart.
Hate speech in the media or social networks in Venezuela is now punishable with prison sentences of up to 20 years, according to a new law issued by the government-controlled National Constituent Assembly (ANC).
More women could be elected to the Venezuelan legislature, but the new rule on gender parity for the upcoming parliamentary elections has been caught up in the political polarisation that has had this country in its grip for years.