Summer typically brings bright, colorful vegetables to the dinner table, promoting healthy eating all season long. But for Venezuelans, this summer brings extreme food shortages, little fruits or vegetables, and bags of pasta that cost $300.
Despite this widely publicized, imminent crisis, the Venezuelan ambassador to the United Nations denies any claims of political instability or food shortage.
In response to comments made by the U.N.’s Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that suggested Venezuela was in a deep crisis, Rafael Ramirez responded aggressively. He questioned where Ban Ki-moon found his information, and called his allegations “strange.”
As reported on The Independent, Ban Ki-moon spoke to journalists in Argentina saying ” Basic goods and services such as food, water, health care, and clothes aren’t available. This triggers a humanitarian crisis in Venezuela which is created by political instability.”
These comments come shortly after thousands of Venezuelans crossed into Colombia in order to buy food. These hungry citizens were forced to wait in lines for 12 hours or more to get basic foodstuffs like bread, pasta, and eggs.
Plus, Venezuela’s interest rates are the highest in the world. Currently, an average minimum wage worker makes the equivalent of $1,507.58 per month, but the prices of food are so high that it is not unusual to spend your entire month’s paycheck on a shopping bag of food.
Generally, there are three types of markets where people can buy food in Venezuela: government-sponsored stores that offer food at a subsidized price, the private supermarket that offer equally high prices, or the black market. Considering that many food seekers have to wait in line all day to get food at their grocery stores, many go to the black market out of desperation.
Unfortunately, a bag of pasta on the black market costs more than $300 U.S. dollars.
This economic crisis isn’t going anywhere soon, as financial experts expect the country’s inflation rate to hit 2,200% by the end of 2017.
But with the top governmental officials denying everything, what are the Venezuelan people to do? For now, cross into a safer Columbia to buy those eggs with your monthly paycheck.