Unemployed construction worker Roberto Sanchez could hear a time bomb ticking as he waited in line with 300 people outside a grocery store this week, hoping that corn meal or rice might be delivered later in the afternoon.
He fears that Venezuela could explode at any minute into political and economic chaos.
“We have no food. They are cutting power four hours a day. Crime is soaring. And (President Nicolás) Maduro blames everyone but himself for the mess we find ourselves in,” said Sanchez, 36. “We can’t go on like this forever. Something has to give.”
The question is what will give first. As the economy spirals into deeper disarray, protests aimed at driving the unpopular president 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.