Current situation in Venezuela (Photo-Story)
(Dear reader, this story is linked to the main Story, please see HERE)
The Venezuelan journalist Victor Salmeron in his book published in 2005, named Venezuelan economy like the economy of chaos. In his text, through several interviews to experts and documental he analyzed the scenarios that the country faced during that year, and it happens that they are very similar to the current ones. He also made short and medium terms projections, where he forecasted an acute crisis, like the one we are currently living.
As it is well known, food security has been one of the most popular topics included in the political agendas of almost most governments worldwide, during the last 50 years. However, the survey applied to 6.168 families of the whole country, made by the main Venezuelan universities and presented in February 2018 said that 64% of the interviewed had lost an average of 11 kilos during the last year due to the impossibility to have access to food.
Like the cave man, Venezuelans expend most of their time during the day covering their basic needs, such as obtaining food, Salmeron said. This phrase is very true in the current situation faced by Venezuelans. Moreover, according to CENDA (Documentation and Analysis Center for the Workers) September´s 2018 family staple basket is of Bs.S 44.079,42 (equivalent to $ 270 approximately) It means that Venezuelans are not only affected by the lack of products in the supermarkets but also the should earn Bs.S 1.468,30 daily (equivalent to $ 9 approx.) to cover the costs. It is important to mention that the monthly basic salary during October 2018 was Bs.S 1.800 (equivalent to $ 10).
Despite the two factors mentioned above, some basic staples can be found in some stores. In the case of supermarkets once they receive the products, they have to follow the rules stablished by the government starting with the watch out of products by the security forces, and the organization of long lines made by people that require the products outside the stores. Once they are organized, a police or military officer pick up the ID cards of people in lines, to respect the place and time of arrival to the place. Then they are allow to enter the place in groups of 10 or 20 people that pay for the products.
In the case of private stores and open space informal markets, they sometimes offer basic products without restrictions to enter the place, nor military or police security, but the products are sold 10 times more expensive than the price agreed by the government and the producers. Those products are called “regulated” and it consists of a list of products with stablished prices.
Due to discrepancy between the buying power of citizens and the over price of products in the supermarkets, people have to visit several public and markets to find and buy the regulated products and do long lines for hours.
The current food crisis that Venezuela is facing jeopardizes the development objectives achievement because the lack of food undermines health, education, mother´s wellbeing and many other social indicators that turned critical because of the high inflationary index and the production controls.
To clarify the situation, Venezuela should confront the less favorable situations such as: a) the complex political crisis,
b) The always-changing legal framework, generating uncertainty on present and future investors,
c) The electrical power failures that affects and reduces the production levels,
d) The strong price control of basic staples basket and,
e) The constant threats of expropriation of lands and facilities or institutions of food producers.