Looting by hungry mobs of Venezuelans has led shop owners to take up arms and shutter shops as the country’s economic and political turmoil deepens.
“We either loot or we die of hunger,” Maryoli Corniele, a resident of the western city of Maracaibo, told local newspaper Diario la Verdad, according to The Guardian.
The Venezuelan Observatory for Social Conflict, a Caracas-based rights group, claims that in the first 11 days of January, there were at least 107 episodes of looting and several deaths in 19 of Venezuela’s 23 states.
The EU today announced new sanctions on seven senior Venezuelan officials, saying the move was aimed at raising pressure on President Nicolas Maduro’s government. Maduro is accused of crushing opposition parties and other human rights abuses, Reuters reports.
Venezuela “does not have enough resources to import food any longer”, according to Alexander Duarte, an exiled Venezuelan journalist now based in Toronto, in an opinion piece in The Globe and Mail. “The so-called food-sovereignty translates into hunger, malnutrition, repeated looting of supermarkets and food-transporting trucks, farmhouse robbery, and livestock theft.”
vidence for his prediction can be found in towns and cities that have been hit by an outbreak of looting and mob violence by starving Venezuelans.
Angry about empty supermarket shelves and soaring prices, some people are breaking into warehouses, ransacking food trucks and invading outlying farms.
During the first 11 days of January the Venezuelan Observatory for Social Conflict, a Caracas rights group, recorded 107 episodes of looting and several deaths in 19 of Venezuela’s 23 states.
But the figures don’t fully capture the level of desperation. Recent headlines from Venezuela read like notes from the apocalypse:
On Margarita Island dozens of people waded into the ocean and forced their way aboard a fishing boat, making off with its catch of sardines
In the city of Maracay, just west of Caracas, thieves broke into a veterinary school, stole two pregnant thoroughbred horses and slaughtered them for meat.
A recent video from the western state of Mérida shows a group of people cornering a cow before stoning it to death as bystanders yell: “The people are hungry!”
There have been previous incidents of looting but analysts fear that the current wave could linger amid the Venezuela’s economic freefall.
President Nicolás Maduro blames the country’s woes on an “economic war” against his government by rightwingers and foreign interests.
But his critics say his government has disrupted domestic food production by expropriating farms and factories. Meanwhile, price controls designed to make food more widely available to poorer Venezuelans have had the opposite effect: many prices have been set below the cost of production, forcing food producers out of business.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
January 22nd, 2018