Venezuela is in a state of crisis. The South American country, which has the largest oil reserves on the planet, is currently locked in the disastrous feedback loop of printing more money to keep up with rising prices, which, in turn, is cheapening the bolívar.
The result is a 700 percent inflation rate, currently the highest in the world. And the situation is only getting bleaker, not just for Venezuela's hugely unpopular President Nicolas Maduro, who is clinging to power with emergency measures, but even more so for the country's 30 million inhabitants.
Because of insanely high prices for basic ingredients, bakeries have started shutting down because they can no longer afford flour, which is leading to a very scarce food situation and long bread lines, according to USA Today. And if history has shown us one thing, it's that the shit usually hits the fan when bread gets too expensive.
In a tweet earlier this month, Ramon Muchacho, mayor of the Caracas district of Chacao, claimed that residents of the capital are resorting to various forms of urban hunting in order to subsist. "People are hunting dogs and cats in the streets, and pigeons in the plazas to eat," he tweeted.
While these claims have yet to be verified, massive grocery lines, looting, and robberies for food have become widespread, according to numerous reports. "We have no food. They are cutting power four hours a day. Crime is soaring. And [President Nicolás] Maduro blames everyone but himself for the mess we find ourselves in," unemployed construction worker Roberto Sanchez told USA Today. "We can't go on like this forever. Something has to give."
As if that weren't bad enough, President Maduro is threatening to lock up factory owners who have halted production because of their inability to buy raw materials. The threat came after largest food and beverage distributor, Empresas Polar, shut down its last operational beer factory. In fact, Maduro went as far as accusing such producers of "sabotaging the country."
While some politicians in the country are downplaying the severity of the growing food shortage, even inciting fellow Venezuelans to eat fried rocks instead, such taunts are ill-advised. Take away a people's beer and bread with poor monetary policy, and be prepared to deal with the consequences.