From above, Caracas’ skyline still hints at the opulence that once characterised oil-rich Venezuela, but at ground level there’s no hiding today’s reality: people are queuing all night for food and medicine; inflation is with over 700 percent the highest in the world; and murders and kidnappings are spiralling out of control.
Venezuelans who can, are fleeing their country, once a magnet for immigrants.
And with a political confrontation mounting steadily, many warn that the nation with one of the world’s largest oil reserves is on the edge of an abyss.
Political violence against opponents of the populist government of President Nicolas Maduro is intensifying, but it’s common crime which is terrifying most Venezuelans, no matter what their beliefs or social class.
Venezuela is now one of world’s most dangerous countries, and its capital, Caracas, the city with one of the highest murder rates in the world, according to a recent study.
Violent crime is rampant and the police are unable to stop – or don’t want to intervene – people from looting, or others from killing for a bag of food.
The looting of bakeries, pharmacies and especially supermarkets is spreading throughout the country. At long queues of people waiting to buy food, the army is deployed to maintain order.