Hungry Venezuelans weep at sight of food
A political famine is literally starving Venezuelans, as the country cannot feed itself and cannot pay for imports. Socialism and cronyism have driven the producers of all kinds of goods out of business, and even oil wealth from the world’s largest reserves cannot make up the difference.
CNN Money has heartbreaking evidence of the desperation of ordinary Venezuelans:
Venezuelans cried at the sight of fully-stocked supermarket shelves in Colombia.
Pregnant women, children and even elderly Venezuelans crossed into Colombia on Sunday after the border was temporarily reopened, allowing them to buy basic foods and toiletries -- rare commodities in their home country.
Tearful Venezuelans had gone weeks without basic food items like milk, flour and toilet paper. It's a sad but common part of daily life today in crisis-ridden Venezuela, a country that has the world's largest proven reserves of oil. Colombian officials estimate that about 100,000 Venezuelans crossed the border.
Things are going to get much worse. It is not North Korea, but Venezuela is heading in that direction.
... despite Venezuela's oil abundance, its state-run oil company, PDVSA, is broke. Venezuela's oil production fell to a 13-year low in June, according to OPEC, of which it's a member.
It's cash and gold stockpile are dwindling too. Veneuzuela's foreign reserves are now a mere $11.9 billion, according to its central bank. Two years ago it had $20 billion. The country has had to ship gold to Switzerland this year to help pay down its debts.
Venezuela could be quickly approaching an economic judgment day. It owes about $5 billion in a string of bond payments between October and November. Many experts believe the chance of default is very high.