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Queues outside Venezuelan supermarkets amid shortages

Queues outside Venezuelan supermarkets amid shortages
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By Seamus Kearney
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Restrictions on food shopping in Venezuela, with shortages reported across the country

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Venezuelans are queuing for hours in front of supermarkets to buy basic food items.

Nationwide shortages are being reported, as falling oil prices slash the country’s national income.

And restrictions are now being imposed, with customers ordered to only shop on certain days.

There are warnings from social action groups that unless urgent action is taken the crisis could lead to widespread unrest.

There have already been outbreaks of violence and clashes between police and protesters.

Further demonstrations are being planned by opposition groups in numerous cities.

Maria Jose Useche, an 18-year-old mother, was one of those waiting in line with her baby outside a store.

“They had disposable nappies, and that’s why I came, but there are none now,” she said. “The only thing left is soap, if I can I’ll buy some soap. Sometimes there’s nothing and I leave empty-handed. Sometimes I queue in this line for nothing.”

The limits on shopping have been imposed by state-owned supermarkets, but many complain it is going to be impossible to manage.

Cook Juan Gonzalez said: “I can’t shop on the day allocated to me. I have other obligations, and I can’t put those off to go shopping for food.”

With inflation hitting 65 per cent last year, the president, Nicolas Maduro, is attempting to seek overseas financing.

He is also lobbying OPEC, hoping for coordinated action to address the drop in oil prices.

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Venezuela's San Cristobal on edge with protests as economic crisis worsens: http://t.co/xV0Z2ubwhxpic.twitter.com/j7cy6N84Oy

— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) January 16, 2015

This is how people wait and fight for food and other goods in Venezuela. Happening right now in my country of origin. pic.twitter.com/9DjwKmAE8I

— Genis Gabby Alvarado (@genisalvarado) January 8, 2015

Seriously? "Venezuela food shortages: 'No one can explain why a rich country has no food'" http://t.co/YO83TCOcSI via @Mamba_Blanca

— Jesús M. Pérez (@jpereztriana) January 13, 2015

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