Spot the missing word in NYT article on Venezuela’s economic collapse

When a friend sent me this article from the New York Times on Venezuela’s economic collapse, I shared his sense that something would be missing.

In Venezuela, Cooking With Firewood as Currency Collapses

CARACAS, Venezuela — Food shortages were already common in Venezuela, so Tabata Soler knew painfully well how to navigate the country’s black market stalls to get basics like eggs and sugar.

But then came a shortage she couldn’t fix: Suddenly, there was no propane gas for sale to do the cooking.

And so for several nights this summer, Ms. Soler prepared dinner above a makeshift fire of broken wooden crates set ablaze with kerosene to feed her extended family of 12.

“There was no other option,” said Ms. Soler, a 37-year-old nurse, while scouting again for gas for her stove. “We went back to the past where we cooked soup with firewood.”

Five months of political turmoil in Venezuela have brought waves of protesters into the streets, left more than 120 people dead and a set off a wide crackdown against dissent by the government, which many nations now consider a dictatorship.

It goes on and on describing the turmoil and deprivation. But something is missing. As my friend emailed:

Perhaps a word that explains why this has happened. Why Venezuela, which had been one of the wealthiest nations, is now one of the poorest.

There’s a word that explains what brought about this human catastrophe, I’m sure. I just can’t think of what that word is.

I guess the New York Times can’t think of what the word is either or else they’d use it, I’m sure.

I think it begins with an “s.”

I am sure it is on the tip of their tongues. Too bad they can’t quite bring themselves to express it.

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