By JP Carroll
Things have gotten so desperate in Venezuela that people have resorted to picking food out of the trash so they do not starve to death.
To deal with increasing shortages of various goods, including food and drinks, “I come here looking for food because if I didn’t, I’d starve to death,” former bakery employee Julio Noguera told the Associated Press while frantically searching for some food amid heaped trash.
Venezuela’s economic collapse has hit hard for people of all walks of life. Low oil prices and hyperinflation, which is expected to hit 720 percent this year, have fueled the economic strife. The OPEC member state’s total economic mismanagement under Socialist president Hugo Chavez from his election in 1998 to his death in 2013 is haunting the country.
Now under President Nicolas Maduro, retirees and students alike scavenge through rotten produce on the streets of Caracas in hopes of getting a bite to eat. Central University of Venezuela sociology professor Carlos Aponte told the AP, “A few years ago, Venezuela didn’t have the kind of extreme poverty that would drive people to eat garbage.”
The tough economic situation has only been made worse by political paralysis as nothing gets done these days because of divided government. Venezuela’s conservative opposition won control of the country’s National Assembly, the equivalent of Congress in December 2015 elections and have been at loggerheads with Maduro since day one.
To fight back against nationwide hunger, the Socialist government’s Food Minister, Rodolfo Torres announced Tuesday that 70 percent of the country’s food would be doled out to families via “communal councils.” The Socialist regime has bought 115,000 tons of maize, rice, beans, and sugar from abroad.
Venezuela is currently running out of both beer and Coca-Cola. Opposition politician Jesus Torrealba has said that this form of central planning is, “blackmailing the people through their stomach.”