According to this new story from Carbonated TV, there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel for millions of people now living and dying in Venezuela as the crisis continues to worsen and spills over into neighboring countries such as Brazil. With Venezuelans access to food and health care supplies worsening by the day at a time when it looked like it couldn't get any worse, we take a look in this story at some of the latest scenes from the front lines in Venezuela, where many warn revolution is at hand while the streets have become chaos. Looking through the photographs, videos and stories outlined here within prove to us once again - there but for the Amazing Grace of God go we.
As we see in the first video below, Venezuela has been plagued by anti-government protests that have been growing more and more violent for the past month. Coming at a time when food shortages are hitting all but the very wealthy, this NY Times story reports protesters in Venezuela cover all age groups and as chaos reigns on the streets, one woman in her 60's recently gave the reason she and so many others have taken to the streets: "they’re starving us to death, so nobody can stop me going out on to the streets to protest.” The argument a fellow protester was using to get her to 'take cover' apparently fell on deaf ears: “We can’t do anything if we’re dead, Missus.” From the NY Times story:
That’s what’s new in the protests taking place in Venezuela — the conviction that the 21st-century socialism begun by former President Hugo Chávez has failed and has left the country in ruins. And there are other, darker new elements involved — police brutality, mass detentions and the use of paramilitary groups armed by the government to carry out the dirty work the military doesn’t want to handle: murdering people.
The opposition has been firm in its demands: Open a channel for distributing food and medicine to alleviate the people’s suffering; restore the National Assembly’s constitutional roles; set a timetable for elections; and free political prisoners. For the government, agreeing on even one of these points would be like opening a tiny crack that would soon turn into an enormous hole through which its control would slip away.
Is there a way out of this labyrinth? The possibility of a negotiated transition satisfactory to the opposition is negligible, even more at a time when Mr. Maduro has called for a constituent assembly to rewrite the constitution. But there is still a small window for dialogue. If that doesn’t happen, the alternative would be a military intervention to install a national unity government that would organize free and fair elections — in essence, the plebiscite that Mr. Maduro refuses to hold.
Although it is dangerous to allow the military to mix in political matters, it has happened before in Venezuela; in 1958, a civic-military alliance toppled the dictatorship of Marcos Pérez Jiménez. There is also the risk of a Communist-type dictatorship modeled on Cuba’s. It’s an enormous challenge to find a political solution, but we must try.
Venezuela already is dealing with massive shortages as a result of its controlled prices, because the government can no longer afford its own subsidies. But it will get worse from here.
Maduro seems intent on printing money like crazy, so the next step will be hyperinflation. Inflation is already believed to have reached 700 percent a year, and it is heading toward official hyperinflation, that is, an inflation rate of at least 50 percent a month.
Hyperinflation is as frightful as it is rare. According to Johns Hopkins University professor Steve Hanke, the world has experienced only 56 hyperinflations, and half of them occurred when communism collapsed. (All of the Soviet Union’s 15 union republics suffered it during the country’s disintegration.) Hyperinflation is profoundly demoralizing. Suddenly, it makes no sense to work any longer. Instead of standing in queues to buy food with the money they’ve earned, people stop working entirely, because they cannot spend the money they would have earned. Smart profiteers indulge in speculation, buying safe assets such as commodities or real estate.
As a result, output plummets and enters a downward spiral until financial stability is restored. In 1991, Soviet production probably fell by 10 percent, and oil production plunged by half from 1988 to 1995. Something similar seems to be going on in Venezuela.
The new story from Time this morning reports Venezuela is near its tipping point and a violent endgame as huge numbers of furious Venezuelans hit the streets despite President Maduro recently raising their minimum wage by 60% to appease the angry poor. However, as their story reports, that won't reverse the decline of a country where production is in free fall, inflation is in the triple digits and hunger is now a common problem. Reporting that it's very difficult for people to find time to work while standing in line for the few remaining staples most of the public can afford, how long might it be before what is now happening in Venezuela comes to America?
With the opposition in Venezuela now calling for new elections while accusing Maduro's government of being inefficient and authoritarian, the government in turn accuses the opposition of being supported by big media, elitists and the United States. However, Venezuela has long been spiraling out of control and as this recent story from CNN Money reports, the large majority of the population is losing weight amid the food shortages and skyrocketing prices.
Venezuela's socialist government, led by President Nicolas Maduro, raised the minimum wage 60% on Sunday to 200,021 bolivares ($45) a month, including food stamps.
But that won't buy much at the supermarket. In March, a basket of basic grocery items -- including eggs, milk and fruit -- cost 772,614 bolivares, or close to four times the monthly minimum wage, according to the Venezuela-based Center of Social Analysis and Documentation, or CENDAS in the Spanish acronym.
Food shortages and soaring prices have led to troubling results. Last year, the average Venezuelan living in extreme poverty lost about 19 pounds due to the lack of food. Many of its citizens had to skip meals, according to a national poll.
It's long been claimed that what is now happening in Venezuela should be seen as a warning to America and as we see in the videos below from the front lines in Venezuela, when people are starving, it really doesn't matter to them what they do or what laws they break. With millions feeling like their backs are up against the wall, will we soon see a full-scale war break out in the streets of Venezuela where blood already flows freely?
The videos below each take a look at what's now happening in Venezuela via several different sources. As we quickly see, with chaos mounting every day, it may not take long for things to quickly spiral out of control there. Venezuela provides us with proof that not only is food still being used as a weapon but one of the most important things that we can do is to prepare ourselves, our families and our loved ones for dark times such as this ahead.
While those times may not come tomorrow or the next day or even next year, the peace of mind that comes along with being prepared for anything makes it well worth the time and effort. The masses in Venezuela surely understand that by now.