VISITING a supermarket in Venezuela is like entering Monty Python’s cheese-shop sketch. “Do you have any milk?” The shop assistant shakes her head. Sugar? No. Coffee? No. Soap? No. Cornflour? No. Cooking oil? No. Do you in fact have any of the products that the government deems so essential that it fixes their prices at less than what it costs to make them? No.

This is hard cheese for the masses queuing outside in the hope that a truck carrying something, anything, will arrive. Yesenia, a middle-aged lady from a village near Caracas, got up at midnight, rode a bus to the capital, started queuing at 3am and is still there at 10am. “It’s bad, standing here in the sun. I’ve had no breakfast, and no water.” Why does she think there are such severe shortages? “Bad administration.”   Continue reading