One Illustration Regarding Venezuela
Despite good intentions, I have not had time to devote to a story that is quite important and is not receiving enough attention: the events unfolding in Venezuela. I hope to address some of the relevant issues over the weekend, but instead of trying to do it all in one mega-post, I will also draw attention to some specific items that might be of use to those trying to decipher these events.
Here’s one from earlier this week via Bloomberg: Boy’s Life Hanging on 8-Hour Trip Shows Why Venezuelans Protest.
First, a specific example:
Correa is down to a three-day supply of the pills that help keep his 10-month-old boy’s liver working. After searching pharmacies in three Venezuelan cities, he starts an eight-hour round-trip from his hometown of San Cristobal to the Colombian border town of Cucuta.
“Traveling to Cucuta to buy medicine is an odyssey,” Correa, a 26-year-old tool salesman and father of two, says as he describes the 40-kilometer (25-mile) mountain pass and the national guard checkpoints along the road. “But I’ve had no other options since my little boy was two months old.”
This is embedded in a broader context:
Correa isn’t alone in his struggles as currency controls keep store shelves empty in a country that has the world’s biggest oil reserves. Shortages of everything from food to medicine this week sparked the biggest street protests since President Nicolas Maduro took office in April, leading to at least three deaths. Maduro called the protests an attempted coup and banned further street demonstrations.
With Venezuela importing 70 percent of its goods, the shortages are fueling annual inflation of 56 percent and worsening the bolivar’s 73 percent decline on the black market. The central bank’s scarcity index reached 28 percent in January, the highest since the measure was created in 2005, meaning that more than one in four basic goods was out of stock at any given time.
More at the link.