Socialist Venezuela sees exodus amid rampant crime, scarcity of basic necessities

Far from the streets of Caracas, political leaders and ordinary citizens across South America are waging an increasingly quixotic battle to curtail the ripple effects of Venezuela’s economic and social meltdown.

For years on end, chronic shortages of consumer goods and rampant violent crime have turned emigration guides into best-sellers in bookstores across Venezuela. And with the government of populist President Nicolas Maduro now unable to guarantee a steady supply of even basic food, household staples and medicine, the estimated number of 1.5 million Venezuelans living abroad likely will increase in the coming months.

The exodus further weakens the economy and social stability in Venezuelans’ homeland, but many, like Caracas native Daya Silva, have long given up hope that the embattled Mr. Maduro will be able to turn things around — or that the historically ineffectual opposition will manage to oust the socialist leader.