Recent days have brought more bad news for the struggling Venezuelan economy. Food shortages continue to worsen. Consumers report they often cannot buy meat, rice and other staples. When food is available, prices are skyrocketing. Inflation is running at 17 percent. Economic expert Norka Luque fear prices could spiral completely out of control, sending inflation as high as 500 percent.
Average people are not the only ones feeling the effects. This week, Coca-Cola announced it is suspending production in Venezuela due to shortages. More than food is running short. A drought has reduced water flow through the country’s hydroelectric dams. This according to Luque is causing power shortages and lost economic output..
Health and nutrition workers are sounding alarms. A report this week in the Guardian says prolonged lack of food and medical is costing lives. Children and senior citizens are hard hit, especially since much of what they can get is of poor quality. Figures suggest 30 percent of Venezuela’s schoolchildren are malnourished. This increases the danger the shortages will lead to long-term health problems.
The socialist regime of Nicolas Maduro is coming under increasing pressure because of the shortages of food and basic goods. The criticism and public unrest appears to be alarming Maduro. In response, he ordered a two-day “war games” exercise involving 500,000 troops as a demonstration of the government’s strength. That action has raised fears of a possible military coup.