Grocery shopping has been no easy task in Venezuela for the last several years, but things reached a breaking point in January when the Central Bank of Venezuela announced that a staple scarcity index hit a record 26.2%.
Many see routine shortages as just another example of how extreme government ineptitude and deceased-President Chavez’s (and now President Maduro’s) socialist policies have destroyed the oil-rich country’s economy.
When those basic goods do arrive, consumers mob the stores to get a hold of the scarce product. Check out what happens when a Venezuelan grocery store finally receives a shipment of chicken:
While January’s staple scarcity was exceptionally high, the percentage has hovered around 20% for the last several months. What that means is that in any given store in Venezuela, 20 out of every 100 staple products, like sugar, flour, beef, toilet paper, rice, coffee, and chicken is unavailable. That level of scarcity, according to Venezuela’s own economists, is equivalent to countries in a state of civil war.
Asdrubal Oliveros, an economist at Venezuela-based Econanalitica, told the Guardian back in September that the root cause of the shortages lies with a combination of Venezuela’s over-reliance on imports, price controls on goods, and a lack of funds to purchase goods.
“Other than oil, we produce close to nothing, and even oil production has decreased. There is a lack of hard currency, and, in a country that imports everything, this becomes more evident with food scarcity,” Oliveros said.
President Nicolas Maduro, always ready to shift the blame, has said that the food shortages are artificially induced by the opposition and are part of a larger plot by the CIA to destabilize the government.
Here’s the full video, which is from a similar (though less severe shortage) in 2013:
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