Students, staff still in limbo over university closures

Normally buzzing with youthful high energy, Professor Blas Dorta's biology classroom at the Central University of Venezuela is eerily quiet. The university has been closed by administrators since September because of what they say is insufficient government funding. So are nine other Venezuelan public universities, leaving a total of 380,000 students in limbo, write Mery Mogollon and Chris Kraul for Los Angeles Times.

In the last two years, 1,000 professors at the Central University of Venezuela, known by its Spanish initials UCV, and the other public universities have quit, many leaving Venezuela for jobs in Chile, Spain, Mexico or the United States. Last semester, a lack of supplies meant Dorta's students couldn't perform the 18 experiments they needed to pass his basic biology class. Instruments have broken down or been stolen, and no repairs or replacements are in sight, he said.

The university system has suffered from budget cuts and salary reductions for years, partly because of the socialist government's disdain for students on political grounds. The current crisis stems also from the crippling effects of a lack of cash and triple-digit inflation. Declines in the price of oil, on which Venezuela depends for 90% of government revenue, have left the country and President Nicolas Maduro's government on the brink of collapse.
Full report on the Los Angeles Times site