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This Is A Food Line In Venezuela


FEB. 28, 2014, 1:14 PM 

REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

People line up to buy food at a supermarket in San Cristobal, about 410 miles (660 km) southwest of Caracas, Feb. 27, 2014. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Pope Francis called Wednesday for an end to violence in Venezuela that has killed at least 13 people and urged politicians to take the lead in calming the nation's worst unrest in a decade.

One of the reasons Venezuelans have been protesting all over the country for weeks is because of mass shortages of food and other goods.

In December, opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez compared the country's astonishing inflation rate to Zimbabwe's. Consumer prices have risen 56% since Nicolas Maduro took power in 2013.

This line gives you a pretty stunning impression of what that's like — of how many Venezuelans have to get in line for hours to feed themselves and their families every day.

The photo was taken in San Cristobal, the capital city of the Venezuelan mountainous western state of Táchira. It's one of the epicenters of the protests, in which at least 15 have died.

And the demonstrations show no signs of abating, despite Lopez's arrest last week.

On Wednesday, the government announced new measures to try to stem inflation by creating a secondary market in which state oil firm Petroleos de Venezuela SA, individuals and other companies can purchase dollars.

President Nicolas Maduro is trying less-orthodox measures to quell protests as well. This week he announced an early start to the country's pre-Lenten Carnival festivities, meant to take place this weekend.

"The oligarchy wants to take Carnival away from the people," said Maduro to a crowd of supporters on Wednesday. "Do you all agree with that?

"No," they cried.

"Do you want me to suspend Carnival this year," he asked.


He went on to ask if they wanted him to take Carnival from kids and cultural groups. (Of course not.)

"That is fascism," he continued. "To take from the people their cultural rights, their right to Carnival, is pure fascism!"

Despite that compelling argument, it seems the protestors aren't heading off to the beach to party on Maduro's order. They're still in the streets.

 The protester in the center of the picture below, taken outside a metro station in Caracas, is holding a sign that reads, "We'll trade you Carnival for security and food."

Pancartazo en la salida del Metro Sabana Grande, #Caracasía @ActivismoPJ)

#28F— El Universal (@ElUniversal)

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