Venezuelans resort to looting amid food shortages

Venezuela is suffering chronic shortages of even the most basic foods

(CNN) – Chronic shortages of food and basic supplies in Venezuela have led people to resort to looting resulting in hundreds of arrests and even three deaths.

An out of control mob looting a shopping center. Hungry people looted supermarkets, clothing and even liquor stores in Cumana, a coastal city in Venezuela.

Restaurant worker María Alejandra Acuña said, “We even told them it was ok to take the food, but they also stole tables, chairs and destroyed the doors.”

According to officials, at least three people died and 400 looters were arrested in Cumana. Looting in the South American country is getting more frequent and a recent visit to a supermarket shows why.

A scuffle breaks out as a woman tries to cut in line. People lined up against the wall of a parking lot, have been standing here well before sunrise and it’s now noon. The lady at the very beginning of the line tells me that she got here at four in the morning, all for the chance to buy some basic food products at the supermarket across the street.

Ana García said, “I’m here to buy whatever I can find because we have nothing.”

Venezuela is suffering chronic shortages of even the most basic foods, a situation that forces people to spend entire days waiting in line at supermarkets. Others buy food in the black market at exorbitant prices.

Rogelia de Pino is one of the lucky ones. She was able to buy two dozen eggs, salt and corn flower before they ran out. “i’m 77 years old and this is the first time that people are hungry and they won’t admit it because they’re chavistas”.

Socialist president Nicolás Maduro says the shortages are the result of what he calls an “economic war” waged by the opposition and business elite. He has created local committees of supply and production or “claps” by its Spanish acronym. The goal of these committees, the president says, is to make Venezuela less reliable on imported food.

It may be too little too late. People are getting desperate.

“We got here at three in the morning and there were people waiting in line already,” one woman says. After standing in line for nine hours, she leaves with empty hands and an even emptier stomach.

Copyright 2016 CNN

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