A new study conducted by three universities in Venezuela sheds new light on just how dire the food shortages are in Maduro's failed Socialist utopia. Called ENVOVI, the living conditions survey found that 75% of Venezuelans lost "an average of at least 19 pounds" in 2016 due to food shortages. Per UPI:
Venezuela's Living Conditions Survey found that nearly 75 percent of the population lost an average of at least 19 pounds in 2016 due to a lack of proper nutrition amid an economic crisis.
The survey, called ENCOVI, is a joint effort conducted by the Central University of Venezuela, the Andrés Bello Catholic University and the Simón Bolívar University, along with the Fundación Bengoa food and nutrition group and other non-governmental organizations.
In the survey, researchers found that most Venezuelans substituted red and white meats with vegetables and tubers -- such as potatoes. According to the survey, 82.8 percent of Venezuelans are considered poor due to their income.
Of course, food shortages and riots have become the norm in Maduro's Venezuela and resulted in the country ceding control of its food supply to the military last summer (see "Maduro Puts Military In Charge Of Venezuela's Food, Calls It 'Great Sovereign Supply Mission'"). While the move was obviously sold by Maduro as a way to protect citizens from food riots and ensure equal distribution of scarce supplies, in reality it simply ceded more control to the military while making the head of the armed forces, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino, one of the most powerful people in Venezuela...all while Venezuelans have resorted to eating whatever they can find in the garbage.
— Richard Sanz (@rsanz777) January 18, 2017
— IG: @alereportando (@AleReportando) February 19, 2017
As we've noted frequently in recent months, hyperinflation plagued the oil-producing nation's bolivar currency throughout 2016 and has rendered cash effectively useless. As one protested noted, "a food ticket is not a salary...what does someone do when
100,000 bolívars in food tickets disappear thanks to inflation, because
the price of food goes up every day?"
Meanwhile, lack of food and basic services is also creating an education crisis with more than 1 million children no longer attending school due to a lack of food, running water and/or electricity.
About 30 percent of students who now stay home do not attend school because of water problems at home or on campus, 22 percent do not attend because of electricity blackouts and 15 percent do not attend due to school strikes, the survey found.
About 10 percent said a lack of food at home or in school was the reason for their absence. The survey said those in that category are considered among the poorest who previously never skipped school because they did not have food at home.
Of course, the failure of Venezuela's socialist utopia likely means that civil war is all but inevitable at some point in the future absent a quick doubling of crude prices...all of which begs the question of which developed nation, amid a wave of populist sentiment around the world, will open it's doors to South America's next round of refugees.