Someone famous once said that society is only an empty stomach away from anarchy, maybe it was Marx or Trotsky, it doesn’t matter, they were correct. Hunger will drive people to commit acts they otherwise would not, masses of hungry people will band together and direct their anger at those in power; this is precisely what we are seeing happen in Venezuela. Hungry people are being pushed to the brink by the ongoing economic collapse and this is causing outbreaks of unrest. We may well see these outbreaks spread and grow into a revolution that topples the Maduro government. It would suit the US if this were to happen so don’t expect to hear of any food aid for Venezuela being spoken of any time soon.
Protesters told the Associated Press that they were waiting in a line to buy food at cheap prices, when some government supporters cut through.
A protester called Jose Lopez said he and several others, who were neither government supporters nor opposition members, marched through Caracas’ main thouroughfare, chanting, “No more talk. We want food.”
“We have needs. We all need to eat,” Lopez told journalists.
“I’ve been here since 8 in the morning. There’s no more food in the shops and supermarkets… We’re hungry and tired,” another protester told the broadcaster Vivoplay.
As they neared President Nicolas Maduro’s residence, national guardsmen and police in riot gear fired tear gas and pushed them away. Onlookers leaned out of their windows, banging pots and pans and calling the officers names.
More security personnel were sent to curb the mob as government supporters hit the demonstrators with sticks.
Opponents warn Maduro of unrest
Meanwhile, Venezuela’s opponents were waiting for a decision by the National Electoral Board (CNE) to allow a referendum to remove President Maduro. His opponents have warned the country would plunge into unrest if the vote was not allowed.
Enrique Marquez, deputy speaker of the legislature in Caracas, said it was the only “escape valve” for the country that was suffering severe shortages of essential goods and amenities, including food, medicines, running water and electricity.
Recently, Maduro announced a few measures aimed at alleviating the hardship many face. He asked government offices and shops to work fewer days in the week and told people to
Venezuela has the world’s largest crude oil reserves but has been hit hard by falling global prices. Critics say Maduro’s socialist economic policies, drawing on those of his predecessor Hugo Chavez, have worsened the situation.