(p. 6) 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.
An all-powerful assembly of loyalists of President Nicolás Maduro rules the country with few limits on its authority, vowing to pursue political opponents as traitors while it rewrites the Constitution in the government’s favor.
But as the government tries to stifle the opposition and regain a firm grip on the nation, the country’s economic collapse, nearing its fourth year, continues to gain steam, leaving the president, his loyalists and the country in an increasingly precarious position.
. . .
In one nine-day stretch in late July and early August, the price of the bolívar, the national currency, fell by half against the dollar on the black market, cutting earnings for people who make the minimum wage to the equivalent of just $5 per month.
. . .
“Bolívars are like ice cubes now,” said Daniel Lansberg-Rodriguez, who leads the Latin America practice at Greenmantle, a macroeconomic advising firm, and teaches at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. “If you’re going to go to the fridge and take one, it’s something you have to use right now, because soon it’s going to be gone.”
For the full story, see:
ANA VANESSA HERRERO and NICHOLAS CASEY. “In Venezuela, That Empty Feeling.” The New York Times, First Section (Sun., SEPT. 3, 2017): 6.
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date SEPT. 2, 2017, and has the title “In Venezuela, Cooking With Firewood as Currency Collapses.”)