For years there have been stories from Venezuela about food shortages, import cuts and dwindling international reserves. The Venezuelan economy has crumbled before our eyes. President Nicolas Maduro’s downfall has been a question of when, not if. We’re still waiting for the collapse, but Venezuela has finally reached a tipping point.
Initially, when the formal market failed, an informal market appeared to fill the void. Where bartering and the black market couldn’t meet basic needs, people would cross into other countries like Colombia to buy what they needed before crossing back. As goods became scarcer and income fell, people stopped coming back. Many opted to go to Colombia, while those with the will and the means frequently opted for faraway places like the United States or southern Europe.
In the past year, the informal market has apparently started to fail too. A June 2018 survey by Venezuela’s Consultores 21 found that Venezuelans of every social standin