Venezuela Food Crisis: The Downward Spiral
The current Venezuela food crisis can be attributed to the country’s dependency on its oil reserves over the last thirty to forty years at least, for which the price fluctuated dramatically in the 90s, making the government believe they could continue to sell it at a premium.
This led to the souring of trade relationships with Venezuela, which might have led to product shortages, for which the government under Chavez tried to compensate by a drastic devaluation of their Bolivar currency, as reported by The Wall Street Journal, which created a chain reaction to inflation, which is currently at 700 percent, resulting in what now reported as the Venezuela food crisis.
As the video shows, the Associated Press has reported that the government of Venezuela — which has been under Nicolás Maduro since the death of Chavez in 2013 — agreed to open border crossings for one day into the city of Cucuta, Colombia, which caused a flood of 35,000 Venezuelans to rush into the city in just 12 hours.
The video also refers to when hundreds of women broke through the border with Colombia to purchase products, which is also verified by The PanAm Post, which resulted in the agreement.
“In Venezuela you can’t get anything, there’s nothing to eat. We’re starving, we’re desperate!”
The border had been closed by the government in August of last year.
Food Management Now Under Military Control
The Associated Press is now reporting that the president of Venezuela has put the country’s armed forces in charge of handling the new food supply.
Venezuela’s military has already been given a lot of power in handling other services, such as banking and imports.
The head of the armed forced is Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino.
In order to try to better maintain the food crisis, and reduce the long lines, those forces will be transporting and distributing products, stimulating production, controlling prices, and purging corruption at the ports, which were originally run by civilians.
The average wait time for people standing in the long lines over the food crisis shortage is said to be eight hours.
The armed forces have already repressed opposition rallies and riots inflamed over the food crisis.
The response from opposition deputy Julio Borges was not optimistic about the new initiative.
“Maduro is giving the keys to Miraflores (which is Venezuela’s presidential palace) over to a military leader who is unable to confront the economic crisis. What this means is more roadblocks, more corruption and less production.”
In January 2015, Reuters also reported on the long lines and much like other reports; many people in Venezuela have found ways to make a living off of those lines, which is an example of the kind of desperate acts the people have resulted to in order to capitalize on the food crisis which could be the corruption Maduro is referring to.
The ‘Other’ Venezuelans
Venezuela’s food crisis is not just impacting the people there, it’s also claiming their pets.
According to USA Today, more abandoned pets are being seen alongside roads as people are no longer able to afford to care for them.
The source writes about a non-profit animal rescue organization called Fundanimalia, whose leader Angela Exposito says that, originally, mixed breeds and mutts were seen on the roads. But over the last three months, she’s seen more abandoned purebreds.
The article also says that Ramon Muchacho the mayor of a suburb in Caracas the capital of Venezuela called Chacao, claimed in May that people were hunting stray dogs and cats to eat.
One investigative report by TeleSUR describes the options one has when they’re looking for specific products such as cooking oil or flour while hinting at the politics of whom to blame for the Venezuela food crisis.
At times it points to the private sector who the government accuses of stealing from the country’s coffers.
Judging from the report by TeleSUR, these shortages appear to have become common before they escalated to this point.
Venezuela president Maduro has often accused the opposition of trying to unseat him and has pushed back against their “propaganda” which he says tries is designed to make it appear as if socialism is causing the Venezuela food crisis.
[Image by Ariana Cubillos/AP Photo]