We’ve watched in horror over the past year as socialist leadership coupled with a severe drop in oil prices has plunged the country of Venezuela into economic collapse.
As reported this week by Fox News, nearly 75% of Venezuela’s population has lost a significant amount of weight over the past year; average weight lost is about 19 pounds.
“For a single person to lose 19 pounds in a year is no small feat,” writes American Thinker’s Ronald Tinnell. “For a whole country to have averaged such a loss is simply…revolutionary.”
This stat may sound like a good thing in the US, but in Venezuela this shocking weight loss is the result of severe food shortages.
The 2016 Living Conditions Survey found that an estimated 33% of Venezuelans eat only one or two meals per day. This is a sharp increase from just over 11% in 2015.
Fox News mocks Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro by calling the food shortage “The Maduro Diet.”
The Living Conditions Survey also found that over 80% of families live in poverty; over 90% of respondents say their income isn’t enough to cover three meals per day.
Venezuelans are forced into an unhealthy diet, replacing meat with cheap vegetables like potatoes. Over 60% of survey respondents say their children have skipped school to stand in food lines and for other food-related reasons.
A September poll found that 15% of Venezuelans rely on food found in garbage – mostly from restaurants, grocery stores, and industrial businesses. This puts families at an increased health risk, and incidents of entire households dying after eating spoiled food have occurred.
Such desperation has predictably led to an increase in crime in an already violent country, and gangs prey on families and individuals as they leave grocery stores with cherished foodstuffs.
“The food crisis has also created an education crisis, as more than 1 million children no longer attend school, mostly due to hunger and a lack of public services,” reports UPI.
President Maduro has only made matters worse by handing control of the country’s food supply to the military. He also established the Local Committee for Supply and Production (CLAP) – a federal program tasked with monitoring the distribution of food in urban areas.
The CLAP has been accused of giving extra food to government supporters and threatening to withhold food from those who express anti-socialist attitudes.
This week, President Maduro announced that CLAP officials would now be paid in food packages/ration tickets.
“A food ticket is not a salary,” argues opposition politician Henrique Capriles Radonski.
He noted that the ration tickets may soon be worthless thanks to inflation. “What does someone do when 100,000 bolívars in food tickets disappear thanks to inflation, because the price of food goes up every day?”
Inflation in Venezuela was close to 700% in 2016.