Social media is awash with striking images of #EmptyShelvesInVenezuela (#AnaquelesVaciosEnVenezuela) as the evaporation of basic human staples such as toilet paper has now been hyperinflated to total chaos at warehouses and supermarkets. As President Maduro decries the loss of $100 oil “stability”, vowing to return oil prices to their rightful places (and heads to China for help), lines reach for miles for milk and soap… and the people defy governmental bans on photographing empty market shelves… “We couldn’t find shampoo, so we washed our hair with soap. Now there’s not even soap.”

* * *

The line for soap…

And the shelves are bare…

* * *

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro begins a trip to China and OPEC member countries in search of financial support as his country reels from falling oil prices and a tattered economy.

  • *MADURO SAYS TO WORK ON ECONOMIC, FINANCIAL MATTERS W/ CHINA
  • *MADURO SAYS WILL VISIT VARIOUS OPEC COUNTRIES ON TRIP
  • *MADURO SAYS PLANS ON DEVELOPING OIL PRICE STRATEGY ON TRIP
  • *VENEZUELA TO RESTORE `NATURAL’ PRICE FOR OIL, MADURO SAYS
  • *OIL MARKET MECHANISMS AT $100/BARREL WERE STABLE: MADURO

As AFP reports,

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro begins a trip to China and OPEC member countries late Sunday in search of financial support as his country reels from falling oil prices and a tattered economy.

The South American oil giant confirmed Tuesday that it has entered recession, while annual inflation topped 63 percent, exacerbating the outlook for an economy already hit by global crashing oil prices and import shortages.

“It’s a very important tour… to tackle new projects to address the circumstances affecting our country, including the depletion of revenues due to plummeting oil prices,” Maduro said in a radio and television address from the Miraflores presidential palace.

Maduro said he would discuss economic, financial, energy, technological, educational and development projects with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Maduro had been expected to announce exchange measures to address these issues. Instead, the president announced the creation of a strategic reserve, appointed a new board for the entity that manages currency exchange controls and created new agencies to control the distribution of commodities.

President Maduro has an increasing problem…

  • 22% self-identify as pro-govt vs. 42% when former president Hugo Chavez died March 2013

But as long as he can keep the military paid (off), things will be under his control.


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