In desperate Venezuela, thieves target school cafeterias for food

Civil society is rapidly deteriorating in Venezuela. Once a prosperous oil producer, the nation is slipping into a state of chaos that is beginning to resemble Somalia. And things just keep getting worse, says Hannah Dreier, an Associated Press correspondent in Caracas.

“What we’re seeing right now is really the start of a humanitarian crisis,” she says. “What’s so strange and so unique to Venezuela is that they won’t take any international aid.

"I have readers who write to me and ask, ‘How can I help? I really want to do something — to give some money; some food to these people.’ The truth is they can’t, because all of that kind of help is prohibited. You can’t give these people medicine, you can’t give people food, you can’t even just give people $100, which would make a huge difference in anyone’s life here. ”

Food riots are breaking out daily, rolling blackouts are becoming a regular occurrence, and basic medical supplies are running out. As instability cripples the country, some fear that the Western Hemisphere will soon see its own refugee crisis.