Problems in Venezuela – level 3

21-06-2016 07:00

Food riots and violent looting have become a daily occurrence across Venezuela and a major problem for the struggling leftist government of President Nicolas Maduro. Despite spending hours in queues, Venezuelans increasingly find that supplies of subsidised flour or rice run out before they can buy them.

This woman told the president that everyone, not just his opponents, is going hungry. Subsidised state-run supermarkets financed revenue were among the most appreciated programs of late President Hugo Chavez’s 14-year rule. But oil prices have collapsed under his successor Maduro, leaving the country with less money by oil to import food.

What’s more, local firms have little interest in producing because price controls often mean they have to sell their products below cost price. People are being forced to turn to the black market where products like milk or sugar often fetch 10 times regulated prices.

More than a quarter of 641 protests last month were for food, a figure that has risen every month this year and is up 3 times from May 2015. Venezuela’s angry streets are arguably a bigger threat for Maduro than the political opposition, with recent food protests coming within blocks of the Miraflores Presidential Palace.

Difficult words: riot (a violent protest), looting (stealing things during a riot), struggling (not doing well), subsidised (financially supported), revenue (income), late (no longer alive).



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