npr | Although home to the world's largest oil reserves, Venezuela seems to be running out of almost everything these days: food, medicine, electricity, even beer.
Economic conditions have become so bad that Venezuelans are ransacking grocery stores — even though many are largely empty. A Venezuelan monitoring group, Observatory for Violence, says there are about 10 lootings per day around the country, with food riots sometimes turning deadly.
Four people were killed during separate incidents last week as looters clashed with security forces. More than 400 people were arrested in the coastal city of Cumaná, which was briefly placed under a de facto curfew after 20 stores were cleaned out.
One of the hardest-hit places is the western city of Maracaibo.
Due to nationwide electricity rationing, some Maracaibo neighborhoods go without power for up to 12 hours a day. An intersection is utter chaos because there's a power outage and the traffic lights don't work.
The power outages knock out fans and air conditioners in a city where the temperature often tops 100 degrees.