Hundreds of Venezuelans cross the border with Colombia through the Simon Bolivar International Bridge on February 10, 2018.
Poverty in Venezuela rose to 87% in 2017, driven by hyperinflation that destroyed income, according to a study by the country’s leading universities and several NGOs released on Wednesday.
Poverty was 25.8% and extreme poverty was 61.2%, compared to 30.3% and 51.5% a year ago, respectively, according to the Survey on Living Conditions in Venezuela (Encovi).
„The majority of Venezuelans are below a poverty line because wages can not reach the speed of inflation,“ said sociologist María Ponce when she presented the report.
In its most recent report, in 2016, the government of President Nicolás Maduro placed poverty at 18.1% and extreme poverty at 4.4%.
Venezuela closed 2017 with an inflation of 2,600%, according to the opposition majority parliament, while the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects it at 13,000% by 2018.
The survey, conducted between July and September in 6,188 households, revealed that 56.2% recently fell into poverty, while 30.4% are in „chronic poverty“, which „implies the pulverization of the middle class in terms economic, „said Ponce.
„After four uninterrupted years of crisis, the deterioration has been monumental,“ said the sociologist, noting that between 2014 and 2017 income poverty climbed from 48.4% to 87%.
The minimum salary of 797,510 bolivares today is barely enough for just over two kilos of meat.
The loss of purchasing power means that 8.2 million Venezuelans – out of a population of 30 million – eat two or fewer meals a day, „said Marianella Herrera, from the Central University of Venezuela (UCV, public).
„Nine out of ten Venezuelans can not afford their daily food“ and 60% „have lost 11 kilos (weight) in the last year due to hunger“, being subjected to a diet where cassava, rice and flour prevail, Herrera added.
Maduro, who aspires to re-election in the April 22 elections and attributes the crisis to an „economic war“ to overthrow him, launched a plan to distribute subsidized food almost two years ago, which he said has benefited six million people. families
He also created the „country card“, an electronic card to access social programs that, he assures, totals 16 million registered.
According to the Encovi, these initiatives practically disappeared to focus on the food program, which 12.6 million people claim to benefit from, although the delivery of products is irregular.