While we have reported on previous incidents of looting, analysts are starting to fear that the current wave could linger amid the Venezuela’s economic freefall into a Mad-Max-like dystopia – very different from the promised-land of socialist utopian success promised by Bernie Sanders and his Latin American predecessors.
It is clear that amid desperate food shortages Venezuelans are picking up new survival skills.
“It makes you want to cry,” said Luis Felipe Anatael in a telephone interview with The Guardian.
“I think we are headed for chaos.”
A hungry mob took just 30 minutes to pick clean his grocery store in the eastern city of Puerto Ordaz, hauling away everything from cold cuts to ketchup to the cash registers.
“Whenever there are anti-government protests, they have more than enough teargas, tanks and troops to put them down,” he said.
“But for us business people, there is no security.”
During the first few 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.
As The Guardian notes, President Nicolás Maduro blames the country’s woes on an “economic war” against his government by rightwingers and foreign interests.
But rather than reforming the economy, the government has resorted to handouts and far-fetched schemes.
A newly formed ministry of urban farming encourages people to grow tomatoes and raise chickens on their patios and rooftops.
Another campaign encourages Venezuelans to breed rabbits for the table. At a recent news conference, Freddy Bernal, the urban farm minister, declared:
“We need people to understand that a rabbit is not a pet. It’s two and a half kilos of meat.”
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