I don’t like shopping. You could say it nearly gives me the cold sweats. If I had to live in Venezuela, I’d probably be driven mad by now.
In the video above, the BBC reporter spends much of his day trying to chase down some very basic essential goods in Venezuela’s capital Caracas. We’re talking oil, flour, milk, etc.
It’s all about lining up in the hope that you’ll get some basic food items, which may or may not actually be available. For you and me, these are items that we could pick up in a minute from a local convenience store.
Oddly though, the queues in Caracas are hidden from sight, with people lining up in car parking areas. Some say it’s to hide the shame of what’s happening in the country, others say it’s to protect people from sunburn.
The reporter says he knows people who get up at 5 a.m. just to make sure they have a better chance in getting items before they run out.
The Venezuelan leftist authorities are controlling both supply and prices, and they’re even bringing in finger scanners to control shopping habits. Last month, they took over a supermarket chain after accusing its management of hording food.
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro’s policy responses to the crisis have focused on blaming store owners and companies for exacerbating the shortages, reports Forbes.
There’s pretty much a shortage of most things imported, with McDonald’s recently running out of French fries.
More seriously, medical supplies—even aspirins—are hard to find.
Venezuela’s economy is sick partly because of its over reliance on oil exports, which are suffering globally from low prices. They also follow a flawed socialist economic model, and there has been gross economic mismanagement over the past several decades.
Add on top of that some sanctions from the U.S., who the Venezuelan authorities claim is their arch enemy. For more on that, see the video below.