By Kathleen Joyce, ,
Published January 12, 2018
Starving Venezuelans desperate for food reportedly mobbed a field and slaughtered cattle -- a stunning illustration of the socialist country's troubles.
Venezuela has been going through a four-year recession, leaving millions of Venezuelans poor and forcing citizens to succumb to desperate measures.
Western Venezuela has experienced two days of protests and looting due to food shortages that have left at least three people dead and 16 others injured.
The mayor of Arapuey in the state of Merida told El Universal newspaper the dead include a 17-year-old shot during a demonstration Wednesday and two others hit by gunfire Thursday at a business where people had formed a line for food.
An opposition lawmaker, Carlos Paparoni, posted a video on Twitter showing a dozen men attacking a cow with rocks and a machete as one said, “We are hungry.”
Paparoni claimed some 300 animals were thought to be killed.
Stealing has been on the rise in the country since Christmas due to food shortages and inflation, Reuters reported. The country has the world’s highest inflation.
President Nicolas Maduro's regime has largely been blamed for the recession. Opposition lawmakers claim Maduro's “failed economic policies and rampant corruption are to blame for the meltdown in the once-booming country home to the world’s largest crude reserves,” Reuters reported.
“What we’re living is barbaric,” Juan Guaido, an opposition lawmaker tweeted. “The dehumanizing regime of Nicolas Maduro is turning a blind eye to the tragedy that we Venezuelans are living.”
Last week, authorities forced 200 supermarkets to cut prices so citizens could buy food, but employees said they were unsure if the empty shelves would be restocked.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.