Venezuela Fall Drifts Into Darker Territory… Hunger, Blackouts, Govt Shutdown… 80% of basic products in short supply
Venezuela Drifts Into New Territory: Hunger, Blackouts and Government Shutdown
CARACAS, Venezuela — The courts? Closed most days. The bureau to start a business? Same thing. The public defender’s office? That’s been converted into a food bank for government employees.
Step by step, Venezuela has been shutting down.
In recent weeks, the government has taken what may be one of the most desperate measures ever by a country to save electricity: A shutdown of many of its offices for all but two half-days each week.
But that is only the start of the country’s woes. Electricity and water are being rationed, and huge areas of the country have spent months with little of either.
Many people cannot make international calls from their phones because of a dispute between the government and phone companies over currency regulations and rates.
Coca-Cola Femsa, the Mexican company that bottles Coke in the country, has even said it was halting production of sugary soft drinks because it was running out of sugar.
Last week, protests turned violent in parts of the country where demonstrators demanded empty supermarkets be resupplied. And on Friday, the government said it would continue its truncated workweek for an additional 15 days.
“There’s been plenty of problems, but one thing I haven’t seen until now is protests simply to get food,” said David Smilde, a Caracas-based analyst for the Washington Office on Latin America, a human rights group, referring to the demonstrations last week.
80% of basic products in short supply
Caracas (AFP) – More than 80 percent of basic consumer products including food and medicine are now in short supply in Venezuela, a poll says.
Stores are facing greater shortages than households, president of pollster Datanalisis Luis Vicente Leon said Friday.
But the company’s latest study, with data from April, saw a jump in that index as the oil-rich country grapples with political and economic crisis.
“The deterioration has been exponential over the last two months,” Leon said. “We are seeing indices worsen in a really dramatic way.”