90 percent of Venezuelans have been hurled into poverty as the resource-rich nation continues to undergo food shortages and a staggering economic crisis.
Now, a new report shows the average Venezuelan lost 24 pounds of bodyweight in 2017.
On Wednesday, three universities published an annual independent survey of Venezuelan citizens. It is being hailed as one of the most accurate research ventures in the socialist nation, managing to circumvent the government’s lockdown on free press, Reuters reports. The study confirmed Venezuela’s hunger and poverty have skyrocketed in recent years.
Venezuelans surveyed told researchers 60 per cent have woken up hungry without enough money to buy food in just the past 3 months. 25 per cent of Venezuelan people are surviving on two or fewer meals a day.
Food riots have plagued the nation for years, including a horrifying video that emerged earlier this year of a group of starving Venezuelans beating a cow to death with rocks.
The researchers studied 6,168 subjects between the ages of 20 and 65 throughout the country of 30 million people. The same three universities showed weight loss due to poverty is on the rise from 2016 when people lost over 17.5 pounds that year.
Socialist President Hugo Chavez gloated about improving Venezuela with oil-dependent welfare policies when he came into power in 1999. The downward trend of global oil prices lead to a deep recession that began in 2013 under the reign of Chavez’s successor, President Nicolas Maduro.
The new study revealed that between hyperinflation and government controlled food imports, common Venezuelans’ diets lack protein and necessary vitamins. Basic dietary staples, like flour, are rationed which people in bread lines wait hours to receive.
One of the researchers, Maria Ponce, said at a news conference at the Andres Bello Catholic University near Caracas, “income is being pulverized.”
She declared “This disparity between the rise in prices and the population’s salaries is so generalized that there is practically not a single Venezuelan who is not poor.”
Her study devised the poverty rate through 13 pivotal indicators including income and access to services. When these indicators rose above 25% the study defined that person as “poor”.
Since the end of January 2017, inflation drove prices up a mind-blowing 4,068% according to the best information of the Venezuelan opposition-led National Assembly. That number has been reaffirmed by independent economist figures.
This is a drastic change from the 1970s when Venezuela was one of Latin America’s wealthiest nations. 87% of people there are now living in poverty, rising from 82% in 2016 and 48% in 2014.
The government has made no official comment on the new findings. Maduro loyalists wave off the studies as exaggerated claims from the government’s opposition.
Maduro himself has placed the blame for recent economic disaster on his political opponents manipulating the economy with help of big business and the United States.
President Maduro has been criticized for packing on noticeable weight since his rise to power and even eating during his television broadcasts.
Feature image: Nicolas Maduro via The Universal Spectator