Economist predicts ‘barbarity’ and ‘looting’ in Venezuela

The oil price slide has hit some countries much harder than others, and cracks already are beginning to appear in Venezuela’s socioeconomic system.

As NBC News reports, shortages of basic products, like toilet paper, toothpaste and medical supplies, have worsened as the price of oil has plummeted. The South American country, which is an OPEC member nation, pleaded with the cartel to reduce output to stabilize prices, but OPEC last week announced it would maintain production levels.

Venezuela, the world’s 12th-largest oil producer, needs oil to be about $200 a barrel to balance its budget, one analyst says. There have been sporadic protests over the shortages, and experts say that if the economy continues to falter and President Nicolas Maduro’s government has to raise taxes or eliminate gas subsidies for citizens, there could be unrest similar to the “Caracas disaster” of 1989, when falling prices brought on riots in which hundreds of people were killed.

The NBC story goes on:

Experts predict the situation in Venezuela will worsen as early as the first half of 2015.

“It will be a year of extreme scarcity,” Venezuelan economist Angel Garcia Banchs said. “What’s coming to Venezuela is chaos that will probably lead to barbarity and people looting. “