World: Gas shortages, sky-high food prices plague Venezuelans amid economic crisis - PressFrom - US

WorldGas shortages, sky-high food prices plague Venezuelans amid economic crisis

12:20  13 june  2019
12:20  13 june  2019 Source:

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Venezuela 's political crisis appears to be reaching boiling point amid growing efforts by the opposition to unseat the socialist president, Nicolás Maduro. The South American country has been caught in a downward spiral for years with growing political discontent further fuelled by skyrocketing

Notably, Venezuela 's economic future is not looking very bright. Central-bank data suggests that Venezuela 's gross domestic product contracted by 5.7 "Perhaps no country in OPEC has suffered such a severe economic shock amid the collapse in oil prices as Venezuela ," she wrote in February .

Gas shortages, sky-high food prices plague Venezuelans amid economic crisis© Edilzon Gamez Image: Fuel Shortage in Venezuela

MARACAY, Venezuela — Dozens of cars lined up alongside a gas station just after dawn on a highway in the Venezuelan city of Maracay, in the central state of Aragua. The drivers had been waiting for hours to buy gas, partaking in an all too common ritual in the hopes that when it was their turn, there would be enough gas left to fuel up.

Luis Chourio, 40, spent two mornings last week at a gas station in Maracay, a city less than 80 miles from the capital of Caracas, waiting for hours to fill up his pickup truck. But each time he made it to a gas pump, he was told he would have to come back tomorrow.

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Reported Feb 22 2018; "CARACAS – Venezuelans reported losing on average 24 lbs in body weight last year and almost 90 percent now live in poverty, according to a new university study on the impact of a devastating economic crisis and food shortages ." Does anyone feel bad for them?

Sky - high inflation has put the price of basic goods out of reach for many The crisis —the combined result of almost two decades of economic mismanagement, falling oil prices Chronic Shortages and Growing Poverty. The economic crisis has had crippling effects on the lives of everyday Venezuelans .

"What are we supposed to do?" the father of four asked.

The wasted trips used up what little was left in his gas tank, and last Tuesday three men had to push his truck from the highway down a long hill to a pump, where he was finally able to fuel up.

Chourio said he worked from day to day as a soldier, traveling to different parts of the country, and if he couldn't commute, "I don't bring money home.

Filling up his tank that day would give his family "about two days of peace," he said.

Venezuelans described lost days of work, anxiety at being unable to feed their families, and endless hours waiting in lines because of a gas shortage that's hitting the country with the world's largest producible oil reserves.

For Venezuelans who make it to a gas pump with fuel, filling a tank is basically free. Drivers tip gas station workers a small amount, but there is no real fixed price to fill your tank with the government keeping gas prices low but with the shortages it's a major problem.

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Venezuela 's inflation rates are now highest in the world, sending food prices through the roof. Venezuelan soldiers try to control the crowd as people attempt to buy chickens at a Mega-Mercal, a Food shortages in Venezuela have intensified as the country's economic crisis deepens.

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Hours-long lines for gas have become more and more common, especially in states within the interior of Venezuela, but the shortages have increasingly crept closer to Venezuela's capital, hitting cities like Maracay. While Caracas has been largely spared the long lines thus far, Venezuelans in other states are in such desperate need of gas they'll sleep overnight outside gas stations.

"If I don't have gas I have no way to work, I have to go back home," said Jose Diaz, 50, who added his work as an employee at a local business involved travel.

Venezuela is facing an economic crisis, with widespread shortages of basic goods and massive hyperinflation. According to the government's own data, Venezuela's inflation rate hit 130,060 percent in 2018.

Critics of President Nicolás Maduro blame government mismanagement and corruption spanning years, while the government blames U.S. sanctions that have frozen oil revenues, cut crude oil exports and hampered the country's ability to import fuel.

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Food shortages , recession, skyrocketing inflation and a plummeting currency are just a few issues causing Venezuela to dive deeper into crisis . All this is happening in a year when its citizens have battled with food and medicine shortages , sky high inflation and dwindling options.

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In January the Trump administration as part of its tightening sanctions banned U.S. exports of diluents that Venezuelan state-run oil company PDVSA relied upon to process its heavy crude oil. And just last week the U.S. government tightened restrictions on exports of diluents from international companies, Reuters reported.

Data released from the United States' Energy Information Administration showed that in April, Venezuela's crude oil production fell down to its lowest levels since January 2003 - when a countrywide strike nearly brought state-run oil company PDVSA's operations to a halt. In April, crude oil production averaged 830,000 barrels per day, down from 1.2 million in the beginning of the year, according to the data.

The agency said recent production declines can be attributed in part to widespread power outages, mismanagement of the oil industry and U.S. sanctions.

Economist Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research think-tank in Washington, said the gas shortages were tied U.S. sanctions under President Donald Trump.

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Venezuelan man killed in service station line amid fuel shortages A Venezuelan man was killed on Saturday night in a service station line in the western state of Merida, a municipal mayor said on Sunday, signaling the growing impact of the OPEC nation's fuel shortages. Citizens have been spending hours and in some cases days queued up to buy gas over the last month as plummeting refinery output and stalled imports have added to the chaos of a hyperinflationary economic collapse. The killing took place in the town of Tabay when a fight in a service station queue led to gunshots, Tabay Mayor Jose Otalora said in a telephone interview, adding that those involved had been drinking alcohol.

Venezuela 's economic and political crisis continues to plague the country. Over the past two months, 40 people have died in clashes. We're going to continue our focus on world affairs by turning to Venezuela which has been coping with extreme inflation, chronic shortages of basic needs like food

Amid desperate food shortages Venezuelans are picking up new survival skills. Meanwhile, price controls designed to make food more widely available to poorer people have had the Meanwhile the government has less cash to import food because of its mismanagement of the oil sector, where

"It's all related to the fact that they're starving and trying to destroy the economy," he said.

Weisbrot said the effect of those sanctions was to "prevent the economy from recovering."

Diaz and others said the real impact of the gas shortages went beyond long lines and even lost wages - it was affecting everything from access to food to public transportation.

Carlos Julio Rojas, a community activist in Caracas, said the lack of gas meant needy families could not get the food or other goods they needed.

"Food is rotting in the interior of the country," he said.

The gas shortages also meant disruptions to the once-reliable public transportation system in Caracas, lengthening commutes and exposing Venezuelans to more dangerous situations, Rojas said.

Diaz also said the gas shortages were delaying food traveling from different states in the Venezuelan interior, leading to rising costs.

Even when there is food available, the problem for many families is being unable to afford it with hyperinflation and low wages.

"It's monstrous.The prices are going up daily," Diaz said from the gas station in Maracay.

Felipe Garcia, a 34-year-old public employee, said even two years ago, he and his wife were still able to afford simple "luxuries," like buying a soda, in Caracas. Now he struggles to feed and take care of his one-year-old daughter, Arlet.

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Venezuelans rush to Peru before new requirements take effect AGUAS VERDES, Peru (AP) — Tired and thirsty, Betania Ramírez crossed into Peru on Friday with her 1-year-old girl in her arms and her 8-year-old boy beside her. Ramírez has no friends or relatives in Peru, and some of her luggage was stolen as she crossed two countries in cargo trucks and on foot from her home in western Venezuela. 

Venezuelans cope with food shortage 02:50. Story highlights. Waiting in long lines has become a daily reality as Venezuela faces food shortages . The rations system was put in place by Maduro's government after dropping oil prices led to major Shortages in Venezuela amid economic crisis .

Venezuelans at home and abroad are bringing in outside supplies to counter worsening shortages of food , baby formula, and medicines. Tens of thousands of Venezuelans crossed into Colombia to hunt for food and medicine that are in short supply at home after Venezuela ’s government opened

Gas shortages, sky-high food prices plague Venezuelans amid economic crisis© Roberto Leon Image; Family in Caracas

Diapers and baby formula were completely unaffordable, and the family struggled to keep enough food on the table because of the high costs, he said.

Many Venezuelan families, including Garcia's, rely on government subsidized food-aid program, known in Spanish by its initials, CLAP.

Garcia said, "thank God," the family receives the monthly box providing food and milk for Arlet.

"It isn't much, but it does help our situation," he said.

Still, Garcia said if he could afford it, he would relocate to Chile to work and send back money for his family until they had enough money to leave Venezuela altogether.

"There are things that have been lost, so much here in Venezuela," he said, looking down, while he and his family sat sharing a mango in a park. "Sometimes it makes me want to cry, because of everything that's happened."

"This situation that we are living in is beyond the political," he said. "It's like if it were a cancer, we're eating ourselves."

Reuters Exclusive: Colombian armed groups recruiting desperate Venezuelans, army says.
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