Looting and Protests as Economy Threatens to Implode
Incidents of looting and vocal protests take place overnight in towns across Venezuela. More than 1,000 extra police are deployed in Maracaibo after a night of riots, in which protesters set up flaming barricades. In the central cities of Maracay and La Guaira, impromptu roadblocks and tire-burning protests are reported. Meanwhile, France 24 publishes a video clip of Venezuelans protesting as a police vehicle appears to be loaded with goods outside a supermarket while citizens wait in line for hours outside.
A Reuters feature says that Venezuelans are increasingly struggling to put food on the table. The report, which spotlights families posing next to the sparse contents of their refrigerators, reports a recent survey found 87 per cent of respondents said their income was insufficient to purchase food.
Analysts FGE say that Venezuela will default this year barring a large jump in the oil price or a financial bailout. Bank of America Merrill Lynch estimates that Venezuela’s exports have plunged 40 per cent in the last year. A Bank of America economist is quoted saying, “It is hard to find precedents for it in contemporary Venezuelan or Latin American economic history.” Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund predicts a further contraction of the Venezuelan economy in 2017.