Looting, theft and violence: Venezuela's solution against its crisis?

The country ended 2017 with an inflation of 2.616% and a decrease in its GDP of 15%


The world is a month IGNORE INTO 2018 and Venezuela has already registered more than 220 protests and dozens of acts of looting perpetrated by citizens. People performed these actas under the excuse of 'hunger', and they have destroyed stores and minimarkets, taking every product, including business owners´ belongings, such as clothing and home supplies.


As several analysts warned, 2018 promises to be one of the most difficult years for the -already well known- crisis in Venezuela. The country ended 2017 with an inflation of 2.616% and a decrease in its GDP of 15%. In this nation, food is no longer found in supermarkets, instead it is snatched from the hands of those who can barely meet their needs or stolen from stores.


According to some Venezuelan citizens, in the country, many inhabitants can earn up to 15,000 bolivares per day, but this is not enough to even buy a kilo of cheese, since one of this can cost about 200,000 bolivares.


This widespread desperation has led to the increased of violence in some states such as Bolivar and Merida. In those locations, during this year, have already been counted at least four deaths and more than a dozen wounded, caused by clashes between store owners and looters.


59% of the 220 protests were mainly organized because of shortages, high living cost, and delivery delays of State subsidized food. 69 of this protests ended up in acts of looting and 16 in burglary attempts. These acts of violence are supposedly conceived by the level of hunger and desperation that citizens are suffering. However, there are those who believe that behind all of this acts there is a political intention.


Alongside, these Venezuelan incidents were recorded  by an amateur and it went viral. The video showed how a group of people killed a cow hitting it roughly with stones and sticks with the aim of cutting it up and distribute its meat.


The event took place in a municipality in the north of Merida state, and as confirmed by a correspondent for the local newspaper ‘El Universal’, this was not an isolated case, since more than 500 cattle have been stolen and massacred by settlers so far this year.


Hunger without punishment?


Food robbery is increasingly common in Venezuela. Thieves have stopped pursuing jewelry and wallets, instead they snatch bags of food to pedestrians. Furthermore, in Venezuela impunity and hunger seem to grow at the same speed.


The recent acts of looting to trucks and stores have left a few arrests; nevertheless, the vast majority of crimes committed by looters and vandals as well as those committed against the community, never reach trial.


However, when citizens 'steal for hunger', neither justice nor seem the State to know how to act. Some believe, that the crisis Venezuela is facing ,do not leave a different way out to its people. Moreover, others argue that violent acts and public disorder are intricate political strategies to disrepute a nation, or even worse, the abuse of citizens who grip to any problem to profit themselves under acts of violence and crime.

LatinAmerican Post | Krishna Jaramillo
Copy edited by Marcela Peñaloza

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