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Pictures | Sat Aug 26, 2017 | 4:40am IST

Venezuela's signs of crisis

Injured activists struggle to heal: Venezuelans hurt in fierce anti-Maduro protests struggle to heal, their injuries from tear gas canisters, gunshots and water cannons compounded by medicine shortages. Jofre Rodriguez, 18, who was injured during a protest against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro's government, said his jaw was fractured by a gunshot on June 26, 2017. He underwent surgery to remove a projectile that was lodged in a vertebra but he still needs treatment and jaw reconstruction surgery. "This constituent assembly is a perversion meant to consolidate them (the ruling party) in power. I'm protesting against that. It saddens me to see my country like this. With Chavez, we had a dictatorship with a 'political leader,' with Maduro we have a political disaster," he said. "I'm only 18 years old, but I'm living through the decline of Venezuela. Was it worth it? Yes, like those who died, what happened to me was a sacrifice that has inspired many people in the struggle." REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

Injured activists struggle to heal: Venezuelans hurt in fierce anti-Maduro protests struggle to heal, their injuries from tear gas canisters, gunshots and water cannons compounded by medicine shortages. Jofre Rodriguez, 18, who was injured during a...more

Injured activists struggle to heal: Venezuelans hurt in fierce anti-Maduro protests struggle to heal, their injuries from tear gas canisters, gunshots and water cannons compounded by medicine shortages. Jofre Rodriguez, 18, who was injured during a protest against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro's government, said his jaw was fractured by a gunshot on June 26, 2017. He underwent surgery to remove a projectile that was lodged in a vertebra but he still needs treatment and jaw reconstruction surgery. "This constituent assembly is a perversion meant to consolidate them (the ruling party) in power. I'm protesting against that. It saddens me to see my country like this. With Chavez, we had a dictatorship with a 'political leader,' with Maduro we have a political disaster," he said. "I'm only 18 years old, but I'm living through the decline of Venezuela. Was it worth it? Yes, like those who died, what happened to me was a sacrifice that has inspired many people in the struggle." REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
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Maduro sponsors new constituent assembly: Venezuela's new legislative superbody was criticized by South American governments and Washington after giving itself the power to pass laws, superseding the opposition-led congress while ex-top prosecutor Luisa Ortega fled the country. President Nicolas Maduro sponsored the July 2017 election of the 545-member constituent assembly over objections from the opposition, which boycotted the vote, calling it an affront to democracy. In its first session on Aug. 5 the assembly fired Ortega, who had accused Maduro of human rights violations. In practice, the assembly's assumption of legislative power changed little in Venezuela, where the Supreme Court has shot down nearly every law that congress has approved since it was taken over by the opposition in 2016. The assembly had invited leaders of the existing congress to join the session. Congressional leaders did not attend, insisting it was fraudulently created and usurped their powers. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Maduro sponsors new constituent assembly: Venezuela's new legislative superbody was criticized by South American governments and Washington after giving itself the power to pass laws, superseding the opposition-led congress while ex-top prosecutor...more

Maduro sponsors new constituent assembly: Venezuela's new legislative superbody was criticized by South American governments and Washington after giving itself the power to pass laws, superseding the opposition-led congress while ex-top prosecutor Luisa Ortega fled the country. President Nicolas Maduro sponsored the July 2017 election of the 545-member constituent assembly over objections from the opposition, which boycotted the vote, calling it an affront to democracy. In its first session on Aug. 5 the assembly fired Ortega, who had accused Maduro of human rights violations. In practice, the assembly's assumption of legislative power changed little in Venezuela, where the Supreme Court has shot down nearly every law that congress has approved since it was taken over by the opposition in 2016. The assembly had invited leaders of the existing congress to join the session. Congressional leaders did not attend, insisting it was fraudulently created and usurped their powers. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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Military uprising: In a dramatic escalation of Venezuela's political crisis, a group of current and former military officials looted weapons during a weekend raid on a military base near the city of Valencia in August 2017 after they called for a general uprising against Maduro. In a pre-taped video, the group of more than a dozen men in military-style uniforms said they were seeking to restore constitutional order and called for Maduro to step aside in favor of a transitional government. The raid raised the specter of a coup or a surge in already serious levels of violence as the country slides further into an economic crisis and chaos. The opposition says Maduro's authoritarian government has blocked off options for democratic change, heightening chances of a military uprising or violent protest tactics. Operation David Carabobo/Handout via REUTERS

Military uprising: In a dramatic escalation of Venezuela's political crisis, a group of current and former military officials looted weapons during a weekend raid on a military base near the city of Valencia in August 2017 after they called for a...more

Military uprising: In a dramatic escalation of Venezuela's political crisis, a group of current and former military officials looted weapons during a weekend raid on a military base near the city of Valencia in August 2017 after they called for a general uprising against Maduro. In a pre-taped video, the group of more than a dozen men in military-style uniforms said they were seeking to restore constitutional order and called for Maduro to step aside in favor of a transitional government. The raid raised the specter of a coup or a surge in already serious levels of violence as the country slides further into an economic crisis and chaos. The opposition says Maduro's authoritarian government has blocked off options for democratic change, heightening chances of a military uprising or violent protest tactics. Operation David Carabobo/Handout via REUTERS
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Police officer stages helicopter attack: A Venezuelan police officer staged a helicopter attack on government buildings in Caracas in June 2017, hijacking a helicopter and flying through Caracas pulling a "Freedom" banner. He opened fire and dropped grenades on the Interior Ministry and Supreme Court but nobody was injured. Maduro called that attack a terrorist assault to overthrow him and lambasted Western nations for not condemning it. But many government critics doubt the official version, and some even suggested it may have been staged to divert attention from the country's economic and political crises. In a video, Perez said the attack was "perfectly achieved" with no collateral damage "because it was planned, because we are not murderers like you, Mr. Nicolas Maduro." Perez said he had staged an emergency landing on the Caribbean coast following the attack, and returned to the capital after hiking through mountains. Perez, who has portrayed himself as a James Bond-cum-Rambo figure on social media, also is an actor who starred in a 2015 movie about the rescue of a kidnapped businessman. Although he has claimed wider support within the security forces, Perez's actions so far appear to be a rogue stunt organized by a small group of disaffected policemen. REUTERS/Christian Veron

Police officer stages helicopter attack: A Venezuelan police officer staged a helicopter attack on government buildings in Caracas in June 2017, hijacking a helicopter and flying through Caracas pulling a "Freedom" banner. He opened fire and dropped...more

Police officer stages helicopter attack: A Venezuelan police officer staged a helicopter attack on government buildings in Caracas in June 2017, hijacking a helicopter and flying through Caracas pulling a "Freedom" banner. He opened fire and dropped grenades on the Interior Ministry and Supreme Court but nobody was injured. Maduro called that attack a terrorist assault to overthrow him and lambasted Western nations for not condemning it. But many government critics doubt the official version, and some even suggested it may have been staged to divert attention from the country's economic and political crises. In a video, Perez said the attack was "perfectly achieved" with no collateral damage "because it was planned, because we are not murderers like you, Mr. Nicolas Maduro." Perez said he had staged an emergency landing on the Caribbean coast following the attack, and returned to the capital after hiking through mountains. Perez, who has portrayed himself as a James Bond-cum-Rambo figure on social media, also is an actor who starred in a 2015 movie about the rescue of a kidnapped businessman. Although he has claimed wider support within the security forces, Perez's actions so far appear to be a rogue stunt organized by a small group of disaffected policemen. REUTERS/Christian Veron
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Deadly protests since April: More than 125 people have died in protests since the start of April 2017. Venezuelan security forces and pro-government groups were believed responsible for the deaths of at least 73 demonstrators since April, the United Nations said in an Aug. 8 report. Abuses of protesters, including torture, were part of "the breakdown of the rule of law" in the oil-rich but economically-ailing nation, the report said. A woman kneels at the place where 17-year-old demonstrator Neomar Lander died during riots at a rally against Maduro's government in Caracas, in June 2017. The sign reads: "No more blood." REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

Deadly protests since April: More than 125 people have died in protests since the start of April 2017. Venezuelan security forces and pro-government groups were believed responsible for the deaths of at least 73 demonstrators since April, the United...more

Deadly protests since April: More than 125 people have died in protests since the start of April 2017. Venezuelan security forces and pro-government groups were believed responsible for the deaths of at least 73 demonstrators since April, the United Nations said in an Aug. 8 report. Abuses of protesters, including torture, were part of "the breakdown of the rule of law" in the oil-rich but economically-ailing nation, the report said. A woman kneels at the place where 17-year-old demonstrator Neomar Lander died during riots at a rally against Maduro's government in Caracas, in June 2017. The sign reads: "No more blood." REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado
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Injured protesters face another woe -- finding medicine: Demonstrators injured in Venezuela's often violent street protests are facing additional hardship: how to get treatment in a crisis-hit country where basics like antibiotics and painkillers are running short. Nearly 2,000 people have been injured during four months of fierce anti-Maduro street protests in 2017, according to the public prosecutor's office. Rights groups think the number is probably higher. Rubber bullets fired at close range, rocks, and tear gas canisters have caused most of the injuries, doctors and rights groups say. Most of those who have been hurt appear to be opposition protesters, but Maduro supporters, security forces and bystanders have also been harmed. Families are hauling injured relatives to multiple health centers, scouring pharmacies for medicine, raising funds to buy pricier drugs on the black market, and posting messages on social media begging for medical donations. But with around 85 percent of medical supplies unavailable, according to a leading pharmaceutical group, many Venezuelans are still unable to get optimal treatment - or any at all. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Injured protesters face another woe -- finding medicine: Demonstrators injured in Venezuela's often violent street protests are facing additional hardship: how to get treatment in a crisis-hit country where basics like antibiotics and painkillers are...more

Injured protesters face another woe -- finding medicine: Demonstrators injured in Venezuela's often violent street protests are facing additional hardship: how to get treatment in a crisis-hit country where basics like antibiotics and painkillers are running short. Nearly 2,000 people have been injured during four months of fierce anti-Maduro street protests in 2017, according to the public prosecutor's office. Rights groups think the number is probably higher. Rubber bullets fired at close range, rocks, and tear gas canisters have caused most of the injuries, doctors and rights groups say. Most of those who have been hurt appear to be opposition protesters, but Maduro supporters, security forces and bystanders have also been harmed. Families are hauling injured relatives to multiple health centers, scouring pharmacies for medicine, raising funds to buy pricier drugs on the black market, and posting messages on social media begging for medical donations. But with around 85 percent of medical supplies unavailable, according to a leading pharmaceutical group, many Venezuelans are still unable to get optimal treatment - or any at all. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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Venezuelan lawmakers beaten and besieged: Pipe-wielding government supporters burst into Venezuela's opposition-controlled congress on July 5, 2017, witnesses said, attacking and besieging lawmakers. The melee injured seven opposition politicians. National Assembly president Julio Borges said more than 350 politicians, journalists and guests to the Independence Day session were trapped in the siege that lasted until dusk. Opposition lawmaker Luis Stefanelli (L) gestures next to fellow opposition lawmaker Leonardo Regnault after a group of government supporters burst into Venezuela's opposition-controlled National Assembly during a session. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Venezuelan lawmakers beaten and besieged: Pipe-wielding government supporters burst into Venezuela's opposition-controlled congress on July 5, 2017, witnesses said, attacking and besieging lawmakers. The melee injured seven opposition politicians....more

Venezuelan lawmakers beaten and besieged: Pipe-wielding government supporters burst into Venezuela's opposition-controlled congress on July 5, 2017, witnesses said, attacking and besieging lawmakers. The melee injured seven opposition politicians. National Assembly president Julio Borges said more than 350 politicians, journalists and guests to the Independence Day session were trapped in the siege that lasted until dusk. Opposition lawmaker Luis Stefanelli (L) gestures next to fellow opposition lawmaker Leonardo Regnault after a group of government supporters burst into Venezuela's opposition-controlled National Assembly during a session. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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Drug shortages: Venezuela's brutal recession is worsening shortages of medicines from painkillers to chemotherapy drugs.

With 85 of every 100 medicines now missing in Venezuela, anti-convulsants are among the toughest drugs to find, Venezuela's main pharmaceutical association said.

An estimated 2 million to 3 million Venezuelans suffer from epilepsy at some point in their lives, according to Caracas-based support organisation LIVECE. Patients have been struggling to find specific anti-convulsive medicines as far back as 2012.

Due to untreated convulsions, progress has evaporated for otherwise functional people and those with severe disabilities who had managed to improve their mobility or speech.

Tatiana Rocha, baths her son Kaleth Heredia, 2, a neurological patient being treated with anticonvulsants, at their house in Caracas, Venezuela February 8, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Drug shortages: Venezuela's brutal recession is worsening shortages of medicines from painkillers to chemotherapy drugs. With 85 of every 100 medicines now missing in Venezuela, anti-convulsants are among the toughest drugs to find, Venezuela's main...more

Drug shortages: Venezuela's brutal recession is worsening shortages of medicines from painkillers to chemotherapy drugs. With 85 of every 100 medicines now missing in Venezuela, anti-convulsants are among the toughest drugs to find, Venezuela's main pharmaceutical association said. An estimated 2 million to 3 million Venezuelans suffer from epilepsy at some point in their lives, according to Caracas-based support organisation LIVECE. Patients have been struggling to find specific anti-convulsive medicines as far back as 2012. Due to untreated convulsions, progress has evaporated for otherwise functional people and those with severe disabilities who had managed to improve their mobility or speech. Tatiana Rocha, baths her son Kaleth Heredia, 2, a neurological patient being treated with anticonvulsants, at their house in Caracas, Venezuela February 8, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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Cooking gas shortages force Venezuelans to turn to firewood: Finding domestic gas cylinders has become increasingly difficult, forcing residents to cook with firewood in the country with the world's largest oil reserves. Oil industry analysts attribute the problem to slumping oil output in the OPEC nation - which is struggling under an unraveling socialist economy. Long lines to buy cylinders have spurred protests. Demonstrators in May 2017 burned 22 PDVSA trucks in a single day in response to the shortages. REUTERS/Luis Parada

Cooking gas shortages force Venezuelans to turn to firewood: Finding domestic gas cylinders has become increasingly difficult, forcing residents to cook with firewood in the country with the world's largest oil reserves. Oil industry analysts...more

Cooking gas shortages force Venezuelans to turn to firewood: Finding domestic gas cylinders has become increasingly difficult, forcing residents to cook with firewood in the country with the world's largest oil reserves. Oil industry analysts attribute the problem to slumping oil output in the OPEC nation - which is struggling under an unraveling socialist economy. Long lines to buy cylinders have spurred protests. Demonstrators in May 2017 burned 22 PDVSA trucks in a single day in response to the shortages. REUTERS/Luis Parada
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Indigenous Venezuelans seek relief in Brazil: Facing hunger and hardship in their villages along Venezuela's Caribbean coast, hundreds of indigenous Warao are now trying their luck on the gritty streets of Manaus, Brazil's Amazonian metropolis. The Warao, natives of the shore around the Orinoco River Delta, have long used their fishing skills to survive - for nourishment, for barter or by selling the fish for cash. But with grocery shelves empty and many other crucial supplies lacking amid the economic and political instability roiling the Andean country, their fish no longer yield enough to live on. Since late 2016, then, as many as 355 Warao have made the 1,000 km (620 miles) bus journey from northeastern Venezuela to Manaus, a city of 2 million people where local authorities are now scrambling to help them find shelter, food and medicine. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly

Indigenous Venezuelans seek relief in Brazil: Facing hunger and hardship in their villages along Venezuela's Caribbean coast, hundreds of indigenous Warao are now trying their luck on the gritty streets of Manaus, Brazil's Amazonian metropolis. The...more

Indigenous Venezuelans seek relief in Brazil: Facing hunger and hardship in their villages along Venezuela's Caribbean coast, hundreds of indigenous Warao are now trying their luck on the gritty streets of Manaus, Brazil's Amazonian metropolis. The Warao, natives of the shore around the Orinoco River Delta, have long used their fishing skills to survive - for nourishment, for barter or by selling the fish for cash. But with grocery shelves empty and many other crucial supplies lacking amid the economic and political instability roiling the Andean country, their fish no longer yield enough to live on. Since late 2016, then, as many as 355 Warao have made the 1,000 km (620 miles) bus journey from northeastern Venezuela to Manaus, a city of 2 million people where local authorities are now scrambling to help them find shelter, food and medicine. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly
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Trump sanctions seek to halt financing for 'dictatorship': President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Aug. 25 that prohibits dealings in new debt from the Venezuelan government or its state oil company in an effort to halt financing that fuels President Nicolas Maduro's "dictatorship," the White House said. The order is Washington's biggest sanctions blow to date against Maduro and is intended to punish his leftist government for what Trump has called an erosion of democracy in the country. The new sanctions ban trade in any new issues of U.S.-dollar-denominated debt of the Venezuelan government and ailing state-run company PDVSA because the ban applies to use of the U.S. financial system. However, the order stops short of a major ban on crude trading that could have disrupted Venezuela's all-important oil industry and worsened an economy plagued by recession, triple-digit inflation and acute shortages of food and medicine. REUTERS/Marco Bello

Trump sanctions seek to halt financing for 'dictatorship': President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Aug. 25 that prohibits dealings in new debt from the Venezuelan government or its state oil company in an effort to halt financing that...more

Trump sanctions seek to halt financing for 'dictatorship': President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Aug. 25 that prohibits dealings in new debt from the Venezuelan government or its state oil company in an effort to halt financing that fuels President Nicolas Maduro's "dictatorship," the White House said. The order is Washington's biggest sanctions blow to date against Maduro and is intended to punish his leftist government for what Trump has called an erosion of democracy in the country. The new sanctions ban trade in any new issues of U.S.-dollar-denominated debt of the Venezuelan government and ailing state-run company PDVSA because the ban applies to use of the U.S. financial system. However, the order stops short of a major ban on crude trading that could have disrupted Venezuela's all-important oil industry and worsened an economy plagued by recession, triple-digit inflation and acute shortages of food and medicine. REUTERS/Marco Bello
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Women choose sterilization: A growing number of young women are reluctantly opting for sterilizations rather than face the hardship of pregnancy and child-rearing. Traditional contraceptives like condoms or birth control pills have virtually vanished from store shelves, pushing women towards the hard-to-reverse surgery.  REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Women choose sterilization: A growing number of young women are reluctantly opting for sterilizations rather than face the hardship of pregnancy and child-rearing. Traditional contraceptives like condoms or birth control pills have virtually vanished...more

Women choose sterilization: A growing number of young women are reluctantly opting for sterilizations rather than face the hardship of pregnancy and child-rearing. Traditional contraceptives like condoms or birth control pills have virtually vanished from store shelves, pushing women towards the hard-to-reverse surgery. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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Parents give away their children: With average wages less than the equivalent of $50 a month at black market rates, three local councils and four national welfare groups all confirmed an increase in parents handing children over to the state, charities or friends and family. Struggling to feed herself and her seven children, Venezuelan mother Zulay Pulgar (pictured) asked a neighbor in October to take over care of her six-year-old daughter. "It's better that she has another family than go into prostitution, drugs or die of hunger," the 43-year-old unemployed mother said, sitting outside her dilapidated home with her five-year-old son, father and unemployed husband. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Parents give away their children: With average wages less than the equivalent of $50 a month at black market rates, three local councils and four national welfare groups all confirmed an increase in parents handing children over to the state,...more

Parents give away their children: With average wages less than the equivalent of $50 a month at black market rates, three local councils and four national welfare groups all confirmed an increase in parents handing children over to the state, charities or friends and family. Struggling to feed herself and her seven children, Venezuelan mother Zulay Pulgar (pictured) asked a neighbor in October to take over care of her six-year-old daughter. "It's better that she has another family than go into prostitution, drugs or die of hunger," the 43-year-old unemployed mother said, sitting outside her dilapidated home with her five-year-old son, father and unemployed husband. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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Santa isn't coming: As the crisis makes food scarce for millions of Venezuelans, many families cannot buy their children Christmas presents, decorate their home, or even host a holiday dinner. With a recent currency depreciation pumping up prices even higher, some parents are simply canceling Christmas.  REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

Santa isn't coming: As the crisis makes food scarce for millions of Venezuelans, many families cannot buy their children Christmas presents, decorate their home, or even host a holiday dinner. With a recent currency depreciation pumping up prices...more

Santa isn't coming: As the crisis makes food scarce for millions of Venezuelans, many families cannot buy their children Christmas presents, decorate their home, or even host a holiday dinner. With a recent currency depreciation pumping up prices even higher, some parents are simply canceling Christmas. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
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Increased number of abandoned pets:  Venezuelans struggling to feed their families, let alone their pets, during the country's deep economic crisis are increasingly abandoning emaciated dogs in streets, public parks and makeshift shelters because they no longer can afford to care for them. At one dilapidated sanctuary in the hills outside the capital Caracas, hundreds of scrawny dogs bark and claw through wire mesh to scavenge for food in the streets and forest land nearby.  REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Increased number of abandoned pets: Venezuelans struggling to feed their families, let alone their pets, during the country's deep economic crisis are increasingly abandoning emaciated dogs in streets, public parks and makeshift shelters because...more

Increased number of abandoned pets: Venezuelans struggling to feed their families, let alone their pets, during the country's deep economic crisis are increasingly abandoning emaciated dogs in streets, public parks and makeshift shelters because they no longer can afford to care for them. At one dilapidated sanctuary in the hills outside the capital Caracas, hundreds of scrawny dogs bark and claw through wire mesh to scavenge for food in the streets and forest land nearby. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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The shelves are bare: Despite sitting on the world's biggest oil reserves, Venezuela is in the throes of a punishing recession that has many poor families skipping meals amid scarce food and triple-digit inflation. 

REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

The shelves are bare: Despite sitting on the world's biggest oil reserves, Venezuela is in the throes of a punishing recession that has many poor families skipping meals amid scarce food and triple-digit inflation. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

The shelves are bare: Despite sitting on the world's biggest oil reserves, Venezuela is in the throes of a punishing recession that has many poor families skipping meals amid scarce food and triple-digit inflation. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
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Children illustrate their hunger: Depicting their latest meals, some students drew just mangoes and plantains. This student wrote, "Ate corn cake with cheese for breakfast; had spaghetti with egg for lunch and a cookie for dinner" and that pizza was their favourite dish.  REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

Children illustrate their hunger: Depicting their latest meals, some students drew just mangoes and plantains. This student wrote, "Ate corn cake with cheese for breakfast; had spaghetti with egg for lunch and a cookie for dinner" and that pizza was...more

Children illustrate their hunger: Depicting their latest meals, some students drew just mangoes and plantains. This student wrote, "Ate corn cake with cheese for breakfast; had spaghetti with egg for lunch and a cookie for dinner" and that pizza was their favourite dish. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso
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Tropical fruits provide lifeline: Venezuela's mango season provided some relief during worsening food shortages that are forcing the poor to skip meals and sparking a rash of lootings. Facing Soviet-style food lines for increasingly scarce products at supermarkets, more and more people are turning to the South American nation's lush mango, coconut and papaya trees. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Tropical fruits provide lifeline: Venezuela's mango season provided some relief during worsening food shortages that are forcing the poor to skip meals and sparking a rash of lootings. Facing Soviet-style food lines for increasingly scarce products...more

Tropical fruits provide lifeline: Venezuela's mango season provided some relief during worsening food shortages that are forcing the poor to skip meals and sparking a rash of lootings. Facing Soviet-style food lines for increasingly scarce products at supermarkets, more and more people are turning to the South American nation's lush mango, coconut and papaya trees. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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Students and teachers ditch school: Education is no longer a priority for many poor and middle-class Venezuelans who are swept up in the all-consuming quest for food amid a wave of looting and riots. Between 30 percent and 40 percent of Venezuelan teachers fail to show up at school each day, mainly because they are standing in lines for food or medicine, their biggest union estimates. Pupils' attendance is also dropping because children have not eaten, know there will be no food at school, or must line up and help their parents shop. Here a girl arrives at an improvised classroom above a state-run supermarket.  REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Students and teachers ditch school: Education is no longer a priority for many poor and middle-class Venezuelans who are swept up in the all-consuming quest for food amid a wave of looting and riots. Between 30 percent and 40 percent of Venezuelan...more

Students and teachers ditch school: Education is no longer a priority for many poor and middle-class Venezuelans who are swept up in the all-consuming quest for food amid a wave of looting and riots. Between 30 percent and 40 percent of Venezuelan teachers fail to show up at school each day, mainly because they are standing in lines for food or medicine, their biggest union estimates. Pupils' attendance is also dropping because children have not eaten, know there will be no food at school, or must line up and help their parents shop. Here a girl arrives at an improvised classroom above a state-run supermarket. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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Crossing the border to buy necessities: Some people traveled across Venezuela to line up overnight hoping to cross into Colombia when the border was reopened in August 2016 to buy food and other basics that are in short supply at home. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Crossing the border to buy necessities: Some people traveled across Venezuela to line up overnight hoping to cross into Colombia when the border was reopened in August 2016 to buy food and other basics that are in short supply at home. REUTERS/Carlos...more

Crossing the border to buy necessities: Some people traveled across Venezuela to line up overnight hoping to cross into Colombia when the border was reopened in August 2016 to buy food and other basics that are in short supply at home. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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Zoo animals go hungry: Dozens of animals starved to death at one of Venezuela's main zoos due to chronic food shortages in July 2016. In August 2017, authorities investigated the theft of two collared peccaries, which are similar in appearance to boars, from Zulia Metropolitan Zoological Park in Maracaibo, that were likely snatched to be eaten, a further sign of hunger in a country struggling with chronic food shortages. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

Zoo animals go hungry: Dozens of animals starved to death at one of Venezuela's main zoos due to chronic food shortages in July 2016. In August 2017, authorities investigated the theft of two collared peccaries, which are similar in appearance to...more

Zoo animals go hungry: Dozens of animals starved to death at one of Venezuela's main zoos due to chronic food shortages in July 2016. In August 2017, authorities investigated the theft of two collared peccaries, which are similar in appearance to boars, from Zulia Metropolitan Zoological Park in Maracaibo, that were likely snatched to be eaten, a further sign of hunger in a country struggling with chronic food shortages. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso
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Deadly health risks: Shortages of basic drugs and vaccines, emigration of underpaid doctors, and crumbling infrastructure have made it easier for diseases to spread, medical associations said.
Many poor and middle-class Venezuelans also have weakened immune systems because they are no longer able to eat three meals a day or bathe regularly due to product scarcity, reduced water supply and raging inflation. Jennifer Vivas, mother of Eliannys Vivas, who died from diphtheria, cries at the front porch of her home in Pariaguan, Venezuela. REUTERS/Marco Bello

Deadly health risks: Shortages of basic drugs and vaccines, emigration of underpaid doctors, and crumbling infrastructure have made it easier for diseases to spread, medical associations said. Many poor and middle-class Venezuelans also have weakened...more

Deadly health risks: Shortages of basic drugs and vaccines, emigration of underpaid doctors, and crumbling infrastructure have made it easier for diseases to spread, medical associations said. Many poor and middle-class Venezuelans also have weakened immune systems because they are no longer able to eat three meals a day or bathe regularly due to product scarcity, reduced water supply and raging inflation. Jennifer Vivas, mother of Eliannys Vivas, who died from diphtheria, cries at the front porch of her home in Pariaguan, Venezuela. REUTERS/Marco Bello
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A backdrop of uncertainty: Maduro is struggling to weather a political crisis that has shaken his government, led to months of violent protests and his being accused of trying to establish a dictatorship through a new structure for the government that has been opposed nationally and internationally. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

A backdrop of uncertainty: Maduro is struggling to weather a political crisis that has shaken his government, led to months of violent protests and his being accused of trying to establish a dictatorship through a new structure for the government...more

A backdrop of uncertainty: Maduro is struggling to weather a political crisis that has shaken his government, led to months of violent protests and his being accused of trying to establish a dictatorship through a new structure for the government that has been opposed nationally and internationally. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
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