(Cross-posted from my other blog. This was originally published on 6/20.)
The economic devastation and human suffering in Venezuela is getting worse by the day. Every article I see shows the economy has taken one more step towards utter collapse.
6/9 – Washington Post – As hunger mounts, Venezuelans turned to trash for food – A man who used to work at a bakery now searches garbage cans for food because he will starve if he doesn’t find something to eat in the trash.
He is joined by small business owners and retired people in the search for enough food to merely stay alive.
Number of people below the poverty line has skyrocketed from 52% as recently as 2014 up to 76% today.
I wonder what could have caused that devastation?
In the 535 word article, the only hint of the reason for this human suffering is citing the government’s claim that the political opposition is intentionally causing this suffering in order to throw the president out of power.
While the WP reporters are incapable of seeing the cause, at least they are able to see the suffering.
6/10 – AFT at Yahoo News – Venezuela lets Maduro recall advance, with threats – Article reports looting is increasing and more protests involve violence.
A protest by opposition legislators resulted in several of them getting beat up. Yes, legislators are getting beaten when they protest.
Article reports that in one specific city the previous night there were 10 stores and two delivery trucks looted.
The government controlled bureau which oversees the recall process will allow the recall to go forward with some conditions. First, they will require everyone who signed the initial request to have their fingerprints scanned to verify they are eligible to sign. Second, the Bureau said that if there’s any violence the recall may be stopped.
On the second point, keep in mind the opposition legislators who were beaten received a beating from supporters of the government. Thus, the circular reasoning in place is if the government supporters beat up the opposition, the government can halt the recall.
In the 724 word article the primary cause of the crisis is falling oil prices with a secondary factor of a drought reducing hydroelectric power production. No indication of socialism being any part of the problem. No indication that Saudi Arabia, which has less oil reserves than Venezuela, is not experiencing economic collapse.
6/13 – Agence France-Presse – Venezuelans barter diapers for food on smartphones – How did citizens in socialist economies buy food before barter? Grocery stores.
Article reports people are getting their food stuffs the ancient way, through barter. Only they are using modern tech to find someone who has what they need and needs what they have: Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
A poll last month indicated that 80% of food items are in short supply.
Things the article says must be bartered since there isn’t enough on the shelves: diapers for pasta, flour for sanitary napkins, diapers for sugar, and again flour, sugar, eggs, formula milk, baby bottles, wet wipes.
For safety and security, people meet in public and swap selfies to know how the opposite party will be dressed.
6/17 – Yahoo News – Shops shut after deadly looting in Venezuela crisis – Looting in the coastal city Cumana was so bad that the furniture inside stores was looted as well as the food. Five people are reported dead in the turmoil and the army arrested 400 protesters.
And the human suffering continues.
6/19 – New York Times – Venezuelans Ransack Stores as Hunger Grips the Nation – The desperation in Venezuela to merely find enough food to stay alive is getting worse.
Article says food is now moved under armed guard since delivery trucks are being attacked so often.
There are 50 reported food riots in the last two weeks. Dozens of stores have been looted. Five people have died, presumably the same 5 mentioned in the previous article.
Cities (number unspecified) have been militarized in an effort to keep control.
A university study calculates 87% of citizens do not have enough money to buy food.
A study by a union organization calculates people are spending 72% of the income on food.
In the middle of the article, one comment from unnamed economists indicates many years of economic mismanagement is the cause of the suffering.
Later, the article quotes the president as saying the opposition trucked in rioters to loot the stores. He also blamed business owners for intentionally inflating prices.
Article quotes many people who are starving.