Violent protests follow decision to ration energy, cut work week for public employeesSo much is riding on the onset of the rainy season in Venezuela, where people across the drought-stricken country lined up on April 28, 2016, to buy food. So far, Caracas is being spared from energy-saving blackouts but its suburbs are increasingly being left in the dark. (Marco Bello/Reuters)
“Simply put, a natural disaster is making a man-made disaster much worse,” said Donald Kingsbury, a professor of political science and Latin American studies at the University of Toronto.
The “man-made disaster,” in this case, is a heavily petroleum-dependent, state-run economy gutted by the precipitous drop in crude oil prices.
Further, crime rates have reached troubling levels. Venezuela now boasts the world’s second-highest per capita homicide rate after Honduras.
“People are fed up, from all over the political and social spectrum. At this point, it may not take much for things to erupt,” said Kingsbury.
The worst drought to hit Venezuela in almost half a century could be the catalyst, he said.
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