Venezuela Economy: Outlook Worsens    

The BBC's Venezuela correspondent Daniel Pardo reports on how he spent most of a day shopping in vain for basic products.

Ideology and incompetence will continue to pull economy down, experts say.


Venezuela’s economy – already hammered by widespread shortages, declining activity and spiraling inflation – is set to get even worse, experts say.

And even if the country's president, Nicolas Maduro, takes the correct measures to fix the falling economy, they will fail because of the government’s lack of credibility, they say.

“2015 and 2016 will go down as the worst years in Venezuela's modern history,” says Moisés Naim, a distinguished fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a former Venezuelan minister of trade and industry in the early 1990s. "Hunger, crime, strife and widespread human suffering will reach levels not seen before and will disproportionately affect the poorest and most vulnerable groups of society  -- children, women, the elderly and the sick.”

Ricardo Hausmann, Director of Harvard University's Center for International Development and a former Venezuelan planning minister, agrees. “This will be the worst year in Venezuelan history in living memory,” he says.

Both Naim and Hausmann served as directors of Venezuela's Central Bank in the 1990s.

"Unfortunately, there is no such thing as “bottom” for nations’ economies," argues Gerver Torres, Latin America Specialist at Gallup Consulting and former Minister President of Venezuela’s Investment Fund. “Things can always get worse, and I expect that result in Venezuela,” he says.

To start with, the government ...

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Keywords: Cuba, GDP, exchange rate, inflation, leadership, Nicolas Maduro, PDVSA

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