While Brazil and Argentina are heading towards economic recovery despite ongoing challenges, Venezuela is said to be plunging deeper into crisis. The Latin American country that owns the world’s largest oil reserves is running out of cash, analysts said. From USD 30 billion in reserves in 2011, Venezuela now owns just a third of that with around USD 10 billion while it owes USD 7 billion in outstanding debts payments in 2017.
Given that the oil price is currently half of what it was in summer 2014 – around USD 50 per barrel compared to USD 100 at the time, Venezuela’s exports of which oil represents 90% have been insufficient to counterbalance inflation that is forecast to rise 1,660% in 2017 and 2,880% in 2018, according to the IMF. Plunged into deep political and economic disarray, Venezuelans would be experiencing serious shortages of essential products like food or first aid medicine.
From a political standpoint, the situation apparently worsened with the recent imprisonment of political opponent Leopoldo Lopez after President Nicolas Maduro appointed Tareck El-Assaimi as the new Vice-president; immediately sanctioned and designated as a “drug lord” by the US government. The situation is so serious that some local sources warned of an increasing risk of “acute starvation.”