Dogs, cats, pigeons in sight for hungry Venezuelans

As the economy spirals into deeper disarray, protests aimed at driving unpopular Venezuelans president Nicolás Maduro out of office are growing. Maduro responded over the weekend by declaring a 60-day state of emergency to combat what he said are U.S.-sponsored efforts to overthrow his socialist government.

hambre-en-VenezuelaPeter Wilson of USA Today reports the unrest mounts as the country faces continuing shortages of essential food, medicine and toiletries. All the bakeries here in La Victoria, 55 miles southwest of Caracas, stopped producing bread last week because there is no flour.

“People are hunting dogs and cats in the streets, and pigeons in the plazas to eat,” Ramon Muchacho, mayor of the Caracas district of Chacao, said this month in a tweet that was reported in many newspapers.

An epic drought has also gripped this nation that relies mostly on hydroelectric dams, sparking rolling blackouts and water shortages. Hospitals have had to postpone operations and procedures because of power outages. And government employees now work only two days a week to conserve electricity.