From the Editors of VenEconomy
It may sound like a broken record when we say that Venezuela is going through the worst economic and social crisis in its entire history. But this is no reason not to repeat it or keep insisting on the need for an urgent change. The country is starting to show cracks everywhere and is reaching boiling point.
Several economic indicators more than tell about that situation.
Among issues affecting the nation’s economic sphere: Venezuela has the highest inflation rate in the world. Venezuela’s inflation hovered near 300% in 2015, and may reach 720% in 2016, according to the International Monetary Fund. Shortages of food items, medicines and capital goods exceed 80%. The income of citizens slips through their fingers as their purchasing power has been reduced to nothing. Besides becoming desperate and helpless for not finding the essential foodstuff and/or medicines for them or any member of their family.
As if that is not enough to plunge Venezuelans into despair, the country also received the dramatic honor of being one of the most violent in the world, even matching those living internal wars. The number of people who lost their lives due to violence in 2015 reached 27,875, up 2,895 from a year earlier. Nearly 300,000 in the last 16 years, while the number keeps going up given that in the first 25 days of 2016 murders had reached 400 people. Numbers that are exacerbated by the ever-increasing violence of the bloody events, where there is clear evidence of contempt for human life, the devaluing of the human person and prevailing impunity.
These economic and social indicators speak for themselves of the failure of a model of a country that has not been able to give citizens a sustainable livelihood, nor a minimum quality of life nor guarantee their personal security and assets. Meanwhile, the elite in power refuses to give an inch in worsening the chaos and radicalize the crisis with inconsistent and inadmissible statements. One of them comes from Aristóbulo Istúriz, the newly appointed Vice President of the Republic, who still seems to have in mind applying more controls over the food distribution chain and seize Empresas Polar, Venezuela’s largest foodmaker, forgetting that that kind of controls are precisely to blame for the destruction of the nation’s productive apparatus. That the expropriation of companies that were operational and led to bankruptcy in the hands of the monopolizing State as the employer, is what has caused the present famine in Venezuela.
A famine that also begins to add new victims of violent acts to the figures regarding insecurity. Cases of people getting mugged for a bag of food are being reported already, as well as those of people clashing with each other to be the first ones to enter a grocery store and crowds knocking down everybody in their way after standing in line for long hours in search of food.
These events should serve as a wake-up call for the Government to seek a deep rectification of the model of a country established in the late Hugo Chávez’s so-called "Plan for the Homeland" or a change in the leadership of the country. Something apparently unthinkable for a ruling elite that won’t give up power easily.VenEconomy has been a leading provider of consultancy on financial, political and economic data in Venezuela since 1982.
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