Venezuela’s stores close, people starve and opposition in exile

Venezuela is on the brink of ruin. The former mayor of Caracas dared to challenge President Nicolas Maduro’s authoritarian regime—and was made a public enemy. The x-mayor is living in exile in Spain.

In Venezuela, as many as 15.5 percent of children under the age of 6 are undernourished, and another 20 percent of all children are endangered by undernutrition.

In September, nearly 40 percent of all Venezuelan stores have closed — some of them perhaps permanently — after the government of President Nicolas Maduro increased the minimum salary by nearly 3,500 percent in one fell swoop, according the National Council of Commerce and Services of Venezuela.

The country’s monthly inflation hit 200 percent in August alone. The Bolivar lost two-thirds of its value in 31 days.

About four in 10 stores have not opened since Maduro announced the salary increase. And some of the stores that did open are liquidating their merchandise and plan to close definitively when that’s done.