A video posted Monday by AJ+ showing thousands of Venezuelans crossing the Colombian border to buy food and medicine has gotten more than 1.4 million views on Facebook as of this posting.
Reports of the economic crisis in Venezuela continue to make headlines in U.S. media. An article published Tuesday by the Associated Press spoke of increasing desperation and violence, as Venezuelans struggle in an economy is projected to experience 481% inflation this year and 1,642% inflation in 2017. Most would agree that the sharp drop in global oil prices have negatively impacted Venezuela, which exported $27.8 billion worth of oil in 2015.
Many are blaming the socialist policies of president Nicolás Maduro for the current crisis, although they are just as many critics who blame “a U.S.-led economic war” for Venezuela’s problems. As one commentator wrote:
It is odd that the mainstream press blames “socialism” for the food problems in Venezuela, when the food distributors remain in the hands of private corporations. As Venezuelan political analyst Jesus Silva told me recently: “Most food in Venezuela is imported by private companies, they ask for dollars subsidized by the government oil sales to do that; they rarely produce anything or invest their own money.”
According to Silva, the economic sanctions imposed on Venezuela by the U.S., in addition to the oil crisis, have made it more difficult for the Venezuelan government to pay the private food importing companies in U.S. dollars. In response, the food companies are “running general sabotage.”
“Venezuela’s economy depends on oil sales. Now that oil prices are dropping down, the challenge is to get other sources of economic income,” he explained. “Meanwhile, the opposition is garnering electoral support due to the current economic crisis.”