It’s been seen in different time periods throughout history, countries declaring a state of emergency, usually prompted by security threats or natural disasters, allowing governments to take away certain rights and freedoms during this time period. But Venezuela’s state of emergency is a bit different.
It’s about their food supply. Or lack thereof.
Venezuela declared a “nutritional emergency” back in February 2016, but now the little food supply has now diminished to nothing. The country is out of food.
The government had been rationing the scarce amounts of food since February 2014, according to economists. Venezuela is no newcomer to food shortages, but the inflation, caused by the plummeting oil prices, has staunched the development of food and other staples. Popular food companies, such as Coca-Cola, have been forced to shut down production due to a low supply of resources. This has raised prices on the little goods Venezuela still has in its hold. A survey conducted by Simon Bolivar University found that 9 out of 10 Venezuelans couldn’t find enough to eat.
The shortages are also the reason behind many of the current problems Venezuelans have been facing. The Bengoa Foundation has seen malnutrition in almost 1/3 of Venezuelan school children. Many in urban areas have been forced to try to grow their own food. This has been a suggestion from the president himself, as a means to endure through the trying time. Venezuelans who choose not to self-produce wait in long lines for basic items. The wait is on average 6 hours, and there is no guarantee that it will be fruitful. The general desperation of the citizens has caused an increase in riots, as well as raiding of the inadequate amount of goods.
The Venezuelan government has taken steps to withstand this emergency. On July 10, Venezuela opened its previously closed border with Columbia for twelve hours due to the shortage. This caused a rush of hungry Venezuelans to run across into Columbia to quickly buy what supplies they could. To combat the crisis, President Nicolas Maduro has issued the army in charge of food and supplies distribution.
In spite of these measures, it doesn’t seem like the scarcity of food will become better anytime soon.