Shortages in Venezuela

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Shortages in Venezuela
Part of Crisis in Bolivarian Venezuela
Venezuelan eating from garbage.jpg
Escasez en Venezuela, Central Madeirense 8.JPG People lines in Venezuela.JPG
Top to bottom, left to right:
A Venezuelan eating from garbage. Empty shelves in a store.
Venezuelans in line to enter a store for scarce products.
Date 2010 – ongoing[1]
Location  Venezuela
Cause Government policies, corruption and smuggling[2][3]
Outcome Hunger, disease and civil unrest.

Shortages in Venezuela have been prevalent following the enactment of price controls and other policies during the economic policy of the Hugo Chávez government.[4][5] Under the economic policy of the Nicolás Maduro government, greater shortages occurred due to the Venezuelan government's policy of withholding United States dollars from importers with price controls.[6] Shortages are occurring in regulated products, such as milk, meat, coffee, rice, oil, precooked flour, butter prices and other basic necessities like toilet paper, personal hygiene products and medicines.[4][7][8] As a result of the shortages, Venezuelans must search for food, occasionally resorting to eating wild fruit or garbage, wait in lines for hours and sometimes settling without having certain products.[9][10][11][12][13]

Amnesty International, the United Nations and other groups have offered aid to Venezuela. The Venezuelan government has refused such assistance, however.[14]

The shortages and the socialist policies surrounding the lack of goods have been compared to the Great Chinese Famine following the Great Leap Forward[15] – a plan admired by Hugo Chávez[16] – and the Holodomor of Soviet Ukraine.[15][17]

History[edit]

A video with English subtitles produced for El Tiempo explaining the shortages.
Graph showing the food scarcity rate in Venezuela.
Sources: Central Bank of Venezuela,[18][19] Americas Society/Council of the Americas[20]
External image
Contrasting satellite images of Puerto Cabello in February 2012 and June 2015, showing import shortages.

Since the 1990s, food production in Venezuela has continuously dropped, with the Bolivarian government beginning to import food using the country's then-large oil profits.[20] In 2003, the government created CADIVI (now CENCOEX), a currency control board charged with handling foreign exchange procedures in order to control capital flight by placing currency limits on individuals.[21][22] Such currency controls have been determined to be the cause of shortages according to many economists and other experts.[23][24][25] However, the Venezuelan government blamed other entities for shortages, such as the CIA and the smugglers, and has stated that an "economic war" had been declared on Venezuela.[23][24][25][26][27][28][29]

During the Chávez presidency, Venezuela faced occasional shortages owing to high inflation and financial inefficiencies of the government.[30] In 2005, Chávez announced the intitation of Venezuela's own "great leap forward", following the example of Mao Zedong's Great Leap Forward,[16] with an increase in shortages beginning to occur that year as 5% of items became unavailable according to the Central Bank of Venezuela.[31] In January 2008, 24.7% of goods were reported to not be available in Venezuela, with the scarcity of goods remaining high until May 2008, when there was a shortage of 16.3% of goods.[32] However, shortages increased again in January 2012 to nearly the same rate as in 2008.[32] Shortage rates continued to increase, and reached a new record high of 28% in February 2014.[33] Venezuela has stopped reporting its shortage data after the rate stood at 28%.[34] In January 2015, the hashtag AnaquelesVaciosEnVenezuela or EmptyShelvesInVenezuela was the number one trending topic on Twitter in Venezuela for two days, with Venezuelans posting pictures of empty store shelves around the country.[35][36]

An empty Venezuelan store in late-2013

In August 2015, American private intelligence agency company Stratfor used two satellite images of Puerto Cabello, Venezuela's main port of imported goods, to show how severe shortages have become in Venezuela. One image from February 2012 showed the ports full of shipping containers when the Venezuelan government's spending was near a historic high for the 2012 Venezuela presidential election. A second image from June 2015 shows the port with much fewer containers, since the Venezuelan government could no longer afford to import goods, as oil revenues dropped.[30] At the end of 2015, it was estimated that there was a shortage of over 75% of goods in Venezuela.[37]

Late-2015 video of Venezuelans eating from garbage.

By May 2016, experts feared that Venezuela was possibly entering a period of famine, with President Maduro encouraging Venezuelans to cultivate their own food.[20] In January 2016, it was estimated, that the scarcity rate (indicador de escasez)[19] of food was between 50% and 80%.[20] The newly-elected National Assembly, primarily composed of opposition delegates, "declared a national food crisis" a month later in February 2016.[20] Many Venezuelans then began to suffer from shortages of common utilities, such as electricity and water due to the prolonged period of mishandling and corruption under the Maduro government.[38][39][40] By July 2016, Venezuelans desperate for food pressed onto the Colombian border with over 500 women storming past Venezuelan National Guard troops into Colombia for food on 6 July 2016.[41] By 10 July 2016, Venezuela temporarily opened its borders for 12 hours, which were closed since August 2015, with over 35,000 Venezuelans traveling to Colombia for food within the period.[42] Between 16–17 July, over 123,000 Venezuelans crossed into Colombia seeking food with the Colombian government setting up what it called a "humanitarian corridor" to welcome Venezuelans.[42] Near the same time in July 2016, reports of desperate Venezuelans rummaging through garbage for food appeared.[11][12]

Venezuelan eating garbage due to shortages in 2017.

By early 2017, priests began telling Venezuelans to label their garbage so needy individuals could feed on their refuse.[43] In March 2017, Venezuela, with the largest oil reserves in the world, began having shortages of gasoline in some regions with reports that fuel imports had begun.[44] The Bolivarian government continued to deny that there was a "humanitarian crisis", instead stating that there was simply "a decrease in the availability of food", with Yván Gil, vice minister of relations to the European Union, stating that an "economic war" had affected "the availability of food, but we are still within the thresholds set by the UN".[45] Following targeted sanctions by the United States government in late-2017 due to the controversial 2017 Constituent National Assembly, the Maduro government began to blame the United States for shortages and enacted "Plan Rabbit", encouraging Venezuelans to breed rabbits, slaughter them and eat their meat.[46] In an Al Jazeera interview with President of the Constituent Assembly Delcy Rodriguez, Rodriguez stated "I denied and continue denying that Venezuela has a humanitarian crisis", saying that it would justify international intervention in Venezuela. She also described statements by Venezuelans calling for international assistance as "treasonous".[47]

Potential causes[edit]

Government policies[edit]

Overspending and import reliance[edit]

Stores are often forced to fill shelves with items to create a false sense of being fully stocked, with food aisles filled only with miscellaneous items[48]

President Hugo Chávez relied heavily on oil revenues to fund large amounts of imports for his policies. Production under Chávez dropped through his policies of price controls and "poorly managed" expropriations, with his successor, Nicolás Maduro, continuing much of his policies until they became unsustainable. When oil profits began to drop in 2014, Maduro began to limit imports necessary for the Venezuelan people and shortages began to increase. Chávez had left Maduro with a high amount of debt as a result of his overspending, with foreign reserves, usually saved for economic distress, being spent on debt and to avoid default instead of importing goods. Domestic production, which had already been damage by Bolivarian policies, was unable to replace the necessary imported goods.[49]

According to economist Ángel Alayón, "the Venezuelan government has direct control over food distribution in Venezuela" and that the movement of all food, even among private companies, is controlled by the government.[50] Alayón states that the problem is not distribution, however, but production since "nobody can distribute what is not produced"[50] Expropriations performed by the Venezuelan government resulted in a drop in production in Venezuela.[50][51][52] According to Miguel Angel Santos, a researcher at the Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University, as a result of expropriations of private means of production since 2004, "production was destroyed", while a "wave of consumption based on imports" occurred when Venezuela had abundant oil money.[53] With poor production and a dependence on imports, the drop of oil prices beginning in 2014 made it impossible for the Bolivarian government to import necessary goods for all Venezuelans.[2]

Currency and price controls[edit]

Blue line represents implied value of VEF compared to USD. The red line represents what the Venezuelan government officially rates the VEF.
*March/April 2013 data is missing
Sources: Banco Central de Venezuela, Dolar Paralelo, Federal Reserve Bank, International Monetary Fund.

In the first few years of Chavez's office, his newly created social programs required large payments in order to make the desired changes.[21] On February 5, 2003, the government created CADIVI, a currency control board charged with handling foreign exchange procedures.[21] Its creation was to control capital flight by placing limits on individuals and only offering them so much of a foreign currency.[21] The Chávez administration also enacted agricultural measures that caused food imports to rise dramatically, and such agricultural mainstays, such as beef, rice, and milk, slowing in domestic production.[54] With Venezuela's reliance on imports and its lack of having dollars to pay for such imports, shortages resulted.[55]

With such limits to foreign currency, a currency black market was created since Venezuelan merchants relied on the import of goods that require payments with reliable foreign currencies.[56] As Venezuela printed more money for their social programs, the bolívar continued to devalue for Venezuelan citizens and merchants since the government held the majority of the more reliable currencies.[56] Since merchants could only receive so much necessary foreign currency from the Venezuelan government, they had to resort to the black market, which in turn raises the merchant's prices on consumers.[57] The high rates in the black market make it difficult for businesses to purchase necessary goods or earn profits since the government often forces these businesses to make price cuts, such as Venezuelan McDonald's franchises offering a Big Mac meal for $10.90 in January 2014, though only making $1 at the black market rate needed for imports.[58] Since businesses made low profits, this led to shortages since they cannot afford to import or produce the goods that Venezuela is reliant on.[59][50]

With the short supply of foreign currencies and Venezuela's reliance on imports, debt is created. Without settling the outstanding debt, Venezuela could also not import materials necessary for domestic production. Without such imports, more shortages could be created since there would be a larger lack of production as well.[50]

Corruption[edit]

Following mass looting in June 2016 due to shortages which resulted in the deaths of at least three, President Maduro granted Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López the power to oversee product transportation, price controls, the Bolivarian missions on 12 July 2016, while also having his military command five of Venezuela's main ports.[60][61][62] This action performed by President Maduro made General Padrino one of the most powerful people in Venezuela, possibly "the second most powerful man in Venezuelan politics".[61][63]

Lately, food is a better business than drugs ... The military is in charge of food management now, and they're not going to just take that on without getting their cut.
Ret. General Cliver Alcala[2]

An Associated Press investigation published in December 2016 found that "instead of fighting hunger, the military is making money from it". Military sellers would drastically increase the cost of goods and create shortages by hoarding products. Ships containing imports would often be held at bay until they paid off military officials at Venezuela's ports, with officials bypassing standard practices, such as not performing health inspections, and pocketing money spent on such certificates. One anonymous businessman who participated in the lucrative food dealings with Bolivarian military officials and was contracted $131 million between 2012 and 2015 showed the Associated Press his accounts surrounding business in Venezuela. The Bolivarian government would contract the businessman for more than double the actual cost for products, for example one corn contract of $52 million being $20 million more than the market average, and then the businessman would have to use such money to pay Bolivarian military personnel to import such products. The businessman stated that he had been paying millions of dollars to military officials for years and that the Bolivarian food minister, Gen. Rodolfo Marco Torres, once had to be paid $8 million just to import goods into Venezuela.[2] Documents seen by the Associated Press showing prices for corn also revealed that the Bolivarian government budgeted $118 million in July 2016, an overpayment of $50 million for average market prices for that month.[2]

According to retired Gen. Antonio Rivero, Maduro "gave absolute control to the military", which "drained the feeling of rebellion from the armed forces, and allowed them to feed their families". The military has also used currency control licenses to receive dollars at a lower exchange rate than the average Venezuelan, with the military sharing the licenses with friendly businessmen to imports very few goods with the cheaper dollars while pocketing the remaining dollars. Documents show that Gen. Rodolfo Marco Torres had given contracts to potential shell companies, with two companies, the Panamanian located Atlas Systems and J.A. Comercio de Generous Alimenticios diverting $5.5 million to Swiss accounts of two brothers-in-law of then-food minister, General Carlos Osorio in 2012 and 2013.[2]

A food box provided by CLAP, with the supplier receiving government funds owned by President Nicolas Maduro

In late January 2017, members of the United States Congress responded to the Associated Press investigation, suggesting on making targeted sanctions against corrupt Venezuelan officials who had taken advantage of the food shortages and participated in graft. Democratic Senator of Maryland and ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee Ben Cardin stated, "When the military is profiting off of food distribution while the Venezuelan people increasingly starve, corruption has reached a new level of depravity that cannot go unnoticed", while Senator Marco Rubio said that "This should be one of President Trump's first actions in office".[64]

Luisa Ortega Díaz, Chief Prosecutor of Venezuela from 2007 to 2017 revealed that President Maduro had been profiting from the food crisis. The government-operated Local Supply and Production Committee (CLAP) that provides food to Venezuelans in need made contracts with Group Grand Limited, a group owned by Maduro through frontmen Rodolfo Reyes, Álvaro Uguedo Vargas and Alex Saab. Group Grand Limited, a Mexican entity owned by Maduro, would sell foodstuffs to CLAP and receive government funds.[65][66][67]

Smuggling[edit]

In an interview with President Maduro by The Guardian, it was noted that a "significant proportion" of the subsidized basic goods in short supply were being smuggled into Colombia and sold for far higher prices.[3] The Venezuelan government claims that as much as 40% of the basic commodities it subsidizes for the domestic market are being smuggled out of the country, into neighboring countries, like Colombia, where they are sold at much higher prices.[26] However, economists disagree with the Venezuelan government's claim stating that only 10% of subsidized products are smuggled out of the country.[68] The creation of currency controls and subsidies were also noted by Reuters as being a main factor that contributes to smuggling.[69]

Following President Maduro's move to grant the military control of Venezuela's food infrastructure, military personnel have sold contraband into Colombia. One member, 1st Lt. Luis Alberto Quero Silva of the Bolivarian National Guard, was arrested for possessing 3 tons of flour, which most likely was part of a more elaborate graft operation among Venezuela's military.[70]

Food consumption[edit]

In 2013, President of the Venezuelan government's Instituto Nacional de Estadística (INE) Elias Eljuri suggested that all shortages in the country were due to Venezuelans' eating, saying that “95% of people eat three or more meals a day” while referencing a national survey.[71][72][73] Data provided by the Venezuelan government's statistical office instead showed that in 2013, food consumption by Venezuelans actually decreased.[74] By March 2016, 87% of Venezuelans were reportedly consuming less due to the shortages they faced.[20] As of 2016, the average Venezuelan living in extreme poverty lost nearly 19 pounds due to lack of food.[75] March of 2017, a basket of basic grocery items cost 4 times the monthly minimum wage and by April, more than 11% of the children in the country suffered from malnutrition. [76][77]

Response[edit]

Rationing[edit]

Food[edit]

Shoppers waiting in line at a Mercal store for government subsidized products. March 2014.

Economists state that the Venezuelan government began rationing in 2014 due to multiple issues, including an unproductive domestic industry that has been negatively affected by nationalizations and government intervention, and confusing currency controls that made it unable to provide the dollars importers need to pay for the majority of basic products that enter Venezuela.[68] According to Venezuelan residents, the government also rations public water to those who use water over 108 hours a week due to the nation's poor water delivery systems.[68] Gasoline is also rationed in Venezuela allegedly due to smuggling of the subsidized Venezuelan gasoline to Colombia where it is sold for a higher price.[68]

In February 2014, the government stated that it had confiscated more than 3,500 tons of contraband on the border with Colombia—food and fuel which, it said, was intended for "smuggling" or "speculation." The President of the National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, said that the confiscated food should be given to the Venezuelan people and should not be “in the hands of these gangsters.”[78] One month later, President Maduro introduced a new "biometric card" called Tarjeta de Abastecimiento Seguro, that requires the users fingerprint for purchases in state-run supermarkets or participating businesses. The device is allegedly meant to combat smuggling and price speculation.[79][80] It has been described as being both like loyalty programs and a rationing card.[81][82][83] In May 2014, months after the card was introduced, it was reported that 503,000 Venezuelans had registered for the card.[84] In August 2014, it was reported that the Tarjeta de Abastecimiento Seguro failed to go past the trial phase and that another "biometric card" was going to be developed according to President Maduro.[85]

Soon thereafter, in August 2014, President Maduro announced the creation of a new voluntary fingerprint scanning system that was allegedly aimed at combating food shortages and smuggling.[86][87] The Venezuelan government announced that 17,000 troops would be deployed along its border with Colombia,[88] where they will assist in closing down traffic each night to strengthen anti-smuggling efforts.[89][90] The effect of the nightly closings will be assessed after 30 days.[26] Following large shortages in January 2015, Makro announced that some stores would begin using fingerprint systems and that customers would be rationed both daily and monthly.[91]

Utilities[edit]

The blackouts are just more evidence of an utterly dysfunctional government ... This is a government that is not governing.
Michael Shifter, president of Inter-American Dialogue[40]

Rationing of utilities of electricity and water began to increase into 2016. Shortages of water in Venezuela resulted in the Bolivarian government mandating the rationing of water, with many Venezuelans no longer being able to freely have water enter their homes and instead relied on the government to provide water a few times monthly. Desperate Venezuelans often displayed their frustrations through protests and began to steal water "from swimming pools, public buildings, and even tanker trucks" in order to survive.[92] Due to the shortages of water, there were "increased cases of diseases such as scabies, malaria, diarrhea and amoebiasis in the country", according to Miguel Viscuña, Director of Epidemiology of the Health Corporation of Central Miranda[93]

Venezuela also experienced shortages of electricity and was plagued by common blackouts. On 6 April 2016, President Maduro ordered public workers to not go to work believing it would cut down on energy consumption.[40] However, the workers actually used more energy at their homes using air condition, electronics and appliances.[94] On 20 April 2016, the government ordered the rationing of electricity in ten Venezuelan states, including the capital city of Caracas; a week after moving Venezuela's time zone ahead and telling Venezuelan women to stop using hairdryers, all attempts to curb electricity usage.[95] Two days later on 22 April 2016, minister of electricity, Luis Motta Dominguez, announced that beginning the next week, forced blackouts were to occur throughout Venezuela four hours per day for the next 40 days.[40]

Reaction to rationing[edit]

Venezuelan consumers mainly had negative feelings toward the fingerprint rationing system, stating that it created longer lines; especially when fingerprint machines malfunctioned, and that the system does nothing to relieve shortages because it only overlooks the large economic changes that the country needed to make.[68] Following the announcement of the fingerprint system, protests broke out in multiple cities in Venezuela denouncing the proposed move.[96][97][98][99] The MUD opposition coalition called on Venezuelans to reject the new fingerprinting system and called on supporters to hold a nationwide cacerolazo[100][101] that were primarily heard in traditionally government opposing areas.[99] Students in Zulia state also demonstrated against the proposed system.[102] Lorenzo Mendoza, the president of Empresas Polar, Venezuela's largest food producer, expressed his disagreement with the proposed system, saying it would penalize 28 million Venezuelans for the smuggling carried out by just a few.[103] Days after the announcement, the Venezuelan government scaled back its plans on implementing the new system, saying the system is now voluntary and is only for 23 basic goods.[104]

Despite the displeasure of the system, in an October 2014 Wall Street Journal article, it was reported that the fingerprint rationing system expanded to more state owned markets.[68]

Effects[edit]

Arbitrage and hoarding[edit]

As a result of the shortages and price controls, arbitrage (or bachaqueo), the ability to buy low and sell high, was created in Venezuela.[50] Goods subsidized by the Venezuelan government and smuggled out of the country where they are sold for a profit are an example of this.[3] Hoarding had also increased as consumers in Venezuela grew nervous of shortages.[50]

Crime[edit]

Individuals have resorted to violent theft to acquire items that shortages have made difficult to obtain. Venezuelan motorcycle organizations have reported that motorcyclists have been murdered for their motorcycles due to the shortage of motorcycles and spare parts. There have also been reports of Venezuelan authorities being killed for their weapons and trucks full of goods being attacked in order to steal desired merchandise inside of them.[105]

Medicine[edit]

Medical shortages in the country hampered the medical treatment of Venezuelans.[106] Shortages of antiretroviral medicines to treat HIV/AIDS affected about 50,000 Venezuelans, potentially causing thousands of Venezuelans with HIV to develop AIDS.[107] Venezuelans also stated that due to shortages of medicines, it was hard to find acetaminophen to help alleviate the newly introduced chikungunya virus, a potentially lethal mosquito-borne disease.[108] Diphtheria, which had been eradicated from Venezuela in the 1990s, reappeared in 2016 due to the shortages of medicine.[109]

Psychological[edit]

Overall, at the precise moment when you stop finding a product, it becomes more precious than it used to be... Think of it as a work of art that was stolen and when it is found the price is three times higher.
Eldar Shafir [110]

In 2015, concerns about shortages and inflation overtook violent crime as Venezuela's main worry for the first time in years according to pollster Datanalisis. According to chief executive of Datanalisis, Luis Vicente Leon, since insecurity has plagued Venezuela for years, Venezuelans had become accustomed to crime and gave up hope for a solution to crime. Vicente Leon states that Venezuelans instead had a greater concern with shortages and became preoccupied with the difficulties surrounding them. Eldar Shafir, author and American behavioral scientist, says that the psychological "obsession" for finding scarce goods in Venezuela is because the rarity of the item makes it "precious".[110]

Despite the threat of protest violence occurring throughout Venezuela, children were more affected psychologically by the economic crisis than violence. Abel Saraiba, a psychologist of children's rights organization Cecodap stated in 2017, "We have children from a very early age who are having to think about how to survive", with half of her young clients requiring treatment due to the crisis. Children are often forced to go in food lines or beg with their parents, while the games they play with other children revolve around finding food.[111]

Hunger[edit]

Citizens of Caracas searching for food in trash cans.

The Bolivarian government originally took pride in its reduction of malnutrition when it had oil revenues to resource its social spending in the 2000s.[112] However by 2016, the majority of Venezuelans were eating less[20][113] and spending the majority of their wages on food.[114] A 2016 survey by the Bengoa Foundation found nearly 30% of children malnourished. According to nutritionist Héctor Cruces, generations of Venezuelans will be affected by the shortages becoming malnourished, causing stunted growth and obesity.[115] The immune systems of Venezuelans were also weakened due to the lack of food intake, while the lack of water in Venezuela also caused hygienic issues.[109]

The New York Times stated in their article Venezuelans Ransack Stores as Hunger Grips the Nation that "Venezuela is convulsing from hunger ... The nation is anxiously searching for ways to feed itself".[116] The hunger Venezuelans often experienced resulted in growing discontent that culminated into protests and looting.[114][116]

"The Maduro Diet"[edit]

While suffering from lack of food due to the shortages under President Nicolás Maduro, Venezuelans called their weight loss from malnourishment and hunger the "Maduro Diet".[112] The "diet" was described as "a collective and forced diet"[117] with many Venezuelans resorting to extreme measures to feed themselves, including eating garbage,[11][12] wild fruits[13] and selling personal possessions.[118] By the end of 2016, over 3 of 4 Venezuelans had lost weight due to their inadequate intake of food,[119] with about the same proportion of Venezuelans stating that they had lost 8.5kg (19lbs) from a lack of food in 2016 alone.[120]

Protests[edit]

A protester during the 2014 Venezuelan protests holding a sign saying, "Yo protesto por la escasez. Donde los consigo?" (I protest for the scarcity. Where can I get these?)

Demonstrations against the effects of shortages have occurred throughout Venezuela. In August 2014, many Venezuelans protested against the fingerprint rationing put in place by the Bolivarian government[98] while protests against shortages grew from late-2014 into 2015.[121] Of the 2,836 protests that occurred in the first half of 2015, a little more than 1 of 6 events were demonstrations against shortages.[122] In 2016 after shortages of water began to happen, growing incidents of protests against such shortages started occur.[92]

Looting[edit]

In 2015, growing frustration due to shortages and waiting hours in long lines for products led to looting throughout Venezuela.[123] According to the Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict, hundreds of events involving looting and looting attempts occurred in the country in the first half of the year.[123][122]It was also stated that the looting was not new to the country, but had been increasing throughout the year of 2015. Looters show signs of “desperation and discomfort” and resort to looting because they are “frustrated by the inability to find basic goods..[122]

In July 2015, BBC News stated that due to the common shortages in Venezuela, every week there are videos shared online showing Venezuelans looting supermarkets and trucks for food.[124] In Ciudad Guyana at the end of July, looting occurred in the city that resulted in one death and dozens arrested.[125]

Statistics[edit]

There was an 80-90% shortage rate of milk (powdered and liquid), margarine, butter, sugar, beef, chicken, pasta, cheese, corn flour, wheat flour, oil, rice, coffee, toilet paper, diapers, laundry detergent, bar soap, bleach, dish, shampoo and soap toilet in February 2015.[126]

In March 2016, it was estimated that 87% of Venezuelans are consuming less due to the shortages. There was a 50% to 80% rate of food shortages and 80% of medicine was in short supply or not available.[20] By December 2016, 78.4% of Venezuelans had lost weight due to the lack of food in the country.[119]

By February 2017, the Venezuela's Living Conditions Survey, managed by a multi-university organization in Venezuela, reported that about 75% of Venezuelans had lost about 8.5kg (19lbs) in 2016. The survey had also stated that 82.8% of Venezuelans were living in poverty, 93% can no longer afford food and that one million Venezuelan school children do not attend classes "due to hunger and a lack of public services".[120]

International aid[edit]

Donations from the Venezuelan community in the United States

Amnesty International, the United Nations and other groups have offered aid to Venezuela. The Venezuelan government has denied such assistance, however.[14] Venezuelans in other countries often organize benefits for those living in Venezuela, collecting products and shipping them to those they trust in the country.

List of items affected[edit]

Listed below and categorized alphabetically are items that have been or are currently affected by shortages in Venezuela:

Food products[edit]

B

C

E

F

H

I

J

L

M

O

P

R

S

V

W

Health and hygiene products[edit]

A

B

C

D

E

G

H

I

L

M

P

R

S

T

U

Household and maintenance products[edit]

A

B

C

D

F

I

N

T

V

Miscellaneous products[edit]

B

C


G

N

S

V

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ McElroy, Damien (23 June 2010). "Chavez pushes Venezuela into food war". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 12 February 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Dreier, Hannah; Goodman, Joshua (28 December 2016). "Venezuela military trafficking food as country goes hungry". Associated Press. Retrieved 26 January 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c Milne, Seumas; Watts, Jonathan. "Venezuela protests are sign that US wants our oil, says Nicolás Maduro". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Venezuela’s currency: The not-so-strong bolívar". The Economist. 11 February 2013. Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  5. ^ "Venezuela’s black market rate for US dollars just jumped by almost 40%". Quartz. 26 March 2014. Retrieved 27 March 2014. 
  6. ^ Dulaney, Chelsey; Vyas, Kejal (16 September 2014). "S&P Downgrades Venezuela on Worsening Economy Rising Inflation, Economic Pressures Prompt Rating Cut". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 18 September 2014. 
  7. ^ "La escasez también frena tratamientos contra cáncer". Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  8. ^ "Venezuela sufre escasez de prótesis mamarias". Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  9. ^ "Why are Venezuelans posting pictures of empty shelves?". BBC. 8 January 2015. Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  10. ^ Cawthorne, Andrew (21 January 2015). "In shortages-hit Venezuela, lining up becomes a profession". Reuters. Retrieved 17 June 2015. 
  11. ^ a b c MacDonald, Elizabeth (26 May 2016). "Exclusive: Harrowing Video Shows Starving Venezuelans Eating Garbage, Looting". Fox Business. Retrieved 12 July 2016. 
  12. ^ a b c Sanchez, Fabiola (8 June 2016). "As hunger mounts, Venezuelans turn to trash for food". Associated Press. Retrieved 12 July 2016. 
  13. ^ a b "Mangoes fill the gaps in Venezuela's food crisis". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 7 June 2016. Retrieved 12 July 2016. 
  14. ^ a b Charner, Flora (14 October 2016). "The face of hunger in Venezuela". CNN. Retrieved 15 October 2016. 
  15. ^ a b "El “Plan Conejo”, la antesala comunista del Holodomor venezolano". PanAm Post (in Spanish). 14 September 2017. Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  16. ^ a b Guevara, Aleida (2005). An Interview with Hugo Chavez: Venezuela and the New Latin America (1. ed. ed.). Melbourne, Victoria: Ocean. p. 57. ISBN 9781920888008. This year will be crucial in socioeconomic terms. We have announced the revolution within the revolution: the socioeconomic consolidation ... Mao Tse-tung once said this back in the 1960s, during the Great Leap Forward and that is what I have said to the Venezuelan people ... This year has to be the Great Year Forward for us ... 
  17. ^ Toro, Francisco (22 May 2016). "Manuela and Holodomor". Caracas Chronicles. Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  18. ^ Infografía: El ascenso de la escasez. El Universal. 2014-02-13.[permanent dead link]
  19. ^ a b https://web.archive.org/web/20151116200346/http://www.bcv.org.ve/Upload/Publicaciones/bcvozecon042010.pdf
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h Sonneland, Holly K. "Update: Venezuela Is Running Short of Everything". Americas Society/Council of the Americas. Retrieved 11 May 2016. 
  21. ^ a b c d CADIVI, CADIVI, una medidia necesaria
  22. ^ "Venezuelan Currency Controls and Risks for U.S. Businesses" (PDF). U.S. Embassy Caracas. March 25, 2014. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  23. ^ a b Lopez, Virginia (26 September 2013). "Venezuela food shortages: 'No one can explain why a rich country has no food'". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 August 2014. 
  24. ^ a b Boyd, Sebastian (7 September 2014). "Venezuelan Default Suggested by Harvard Economist". Bloomberg. Retrieved 8 September 2014. 
  25. ^ a b Sequera, Vivan; Toothaker, Cristopher (17 March 2013). "Venezuela Food Shortages Reveal Potential Problems During Chavez Absence". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 31 August 2014. 
  26. ^ a b c "Venezuela seals border with Colombia to fight smuggling". Yahoo News. AFP. 12 August 2014. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
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