Venezuela’s feared street gangs -known for armed robberies across the Capital in recent years- are now “feeling the pinch” of the socialist nation’s crumbling economy, with a sharp decline in robberies as the country’s currency becomes “near worthless.”
“Firing a gun has become a luxury. Bullets are expensive at $1 each. And with less cash circulating on the street, he says robberies just don’t pay like they used to,” reports NBC News.
“But in something of an unexpected silver lining to the country’s all-consuming economic crunch, experts say armed assaults and killings are plummeting in one of the world’s most violent nations. At the Venezuelan Observatory of Violence, a Caracas-based nonprofit group, researchers estimate homicides have plunged up to 20% over the last three years based on tallies from media clippings and sources at local morgues,” adds the report.
Inflation for Venezuela’s failing currency topped 1,000,000% in 2018.
Millions of starving Venezuelans continued their struggle to find food and basic necessities over the weekend, with multiple outlets reporting “mile-long” lines for gasoline in the once oil-rich nation.
“U.S. sanctions on oil-rich Venezuela appear to be taking hold, resulting in mile-long lines for fuel in the South American nation’s second-largest city, Maracaibo,” reports the Associated Press. “Some drivers said they’d had to wait almost 24 hours to fuel up, and people have been grabbing catnaps on the hoods of cars or in truck beds.”
“I’ve spent four days trying to get gasoline,” said one resident. “But I couldn’t.”
Locals complained to city officials after Police Officers reportedly accepted bribes of $3.60 -more than half of Venezuela’s monthly minimum wage- to cut the lines and purchase gasoline.
The gas shortage comes less than two weeks after opposition leader Juan Guaido launched a nationwide uprising with the hopes of removing socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro.
Guaido -recognized as Venezuela’s interim President by more than 50 countries- blamed the “failure” on senior military officials’ decision to support Maduro’s regime as tens of thousands protested across Caracas.
“There have been discussions… with civil and military officials who are ready to take the side of our constitution,” he added. “I’m very optimistic given that we are very close to achieving change in Venezuela.”
Maduro publicly blamed the uprising on the United States, saying the so-called “coup” was directed from the “Gringo Empire” based in Washington, DC.
Read the full report at NBC News.