Venezuela economic crisis means fewer meals, more starch

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What meals look like in Venezuela amid economic crisis
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Venezuela economic crisis means fewer meals, more starch
A combination photo shows Antonia Torres posing for a picture (top), and the food that she has in her home (bottom) in Caracas, Venezuela April 22, 2016. "I'm eating less and also I'm eating excess things that should not be eaten" Torres said. The combination of Venezuela's sky-rocketing prices and chronic product shortages have left many struggling to put regular food on their tables and maintain a balanced diet. Amid a severe recession and dysfunctional state-run economy, poorer families say they are sometimes skipping meals and relying more on starch foods. According to one recent study, 87 percent of Venezuelans say their income is now insufficient to purchase their food needs. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SEARCH "FOOD GARCIA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Antonia Torres poses for a picture at her home in Caracas, Venezuela April 22, 2016. "I'm eating less and also I'm eating excess things that should not be eaten" Torres said. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
All the food available in the house of Antonia Torres and her family, is pictured at their home in Caracas, Venezuela April 22, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
A combination photo shows Jhonny Mendez (2nd L) posing for a picture with his relatives (L-R) Yoelver Barreto, Yorver Barreto, Leida Bolivar and Yoalvier Barreto (top) and the food they have at home in Caracas, Venezuela April 14, 2016. "I have to leave the house at 5 am, facing the risk of being killed, to make lines all day and only buy two or three products," Mendez said. The combination of Venezuela's sky-rocketing prices and chronic product shortages have left many struggling to put regular food on their tables and maintain a balanced diet. Amid a severe recession and dysfunctional state-run economy, poorer families say they are sometimes skipping meals and relying more on starch foods. According to one recent study, 87 percent of Venezuelans say their income is now insufficient to purchase their food needs. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SEARCH "FOOD GARCIA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Jhonny Mendez (2nd L) pose for a picture next to his relatives (L-R) Yoelver Barreto, Yorver Barreto, Leida Bolivar and Yoalvier Barreto, at their home in Caracas, Venezuela April 14, 2016. "I have to leave the house at 5 am, facing the risk of being killed, to stand in line all day and only buy two or three products," Mendez said. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
All the food available in the house of Jhonny Mendez and his family, is pictured at their home in Caracas, Venezuela April 15, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
A combination photo shows Mirella Rivero (L) and her son Jose Rivero as they pose for a picture (top) and the food they have at home in Caracas, Venezuela April 15, 2016. "I breakfast on either an arepa or a tamale, to eat, at least two times a day" Rivero said. The combination of Venezuela's sky-rocketing prices and chronic product shortages have left many struggling to put regular food on their tables and maintain a balanced diet. Amid a severe recession and dysfunctional state-run economy, poorer families say they are sometimes skipping meals and relying more on starch foods. According to one recent study, 87 percent of Venezuelans say their income is now insufficient to purchase their food needs. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SEARCH "FOOD GARCIA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Mirella Rivero (L) and her son Jose Rivero pose for a picture at their home in Caracas, Venezuela April 15, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
All the food available in the house of Mirella Rivero and her family, is pictured at their home in Caracas, Venezuela April 15, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
A combination photo shows Romulo Bonalde (R) and his wife Maria de Bonalde posing for a picture (top) and the food that they have at home in Caracas, Venezuela April 23, 2016. "Before we were able to buy food for 15 days, now only we can cover our food needs for the day," Bonalde said. The combination of Venezuela's sky-rocketing prices and chronic product shortages have left many struggling to put regular food on their tables and maintain a balanced diet. Amid a severe recession and dysfunctional state-run economy, poorer families say they are sometimes skipping meals and relying more on starch foods. According to one recent study, 87 percent of Venezuelans say their income is now insufficient to purchase their food needs. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SEARCH "FOOD GARCIA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Romulo Bonalde (R) and his wife Maria de Bonalde pose for a picture at their home in Caracas, Venezuela April 23, 2016. "Before we were able to buy food for 15 days, now only we can cover our food needs for the day," Bonalde said. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
All the food available in the house of Romulo Bonalde and his family, is pictured at their home in Caracas, Venezuela April 23, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
A combination photo shows Ricardo Mendez (2nd L) posing for a picture with his relatives (L-R) Raymari Guerra, Natalia Gerra, Ricardo Mendez, Dayana Mendez, Antonela Mendez, Yolimar Vetancourt and Liz Torres (top) and the food they have at home in Caracas, Venezuela April 23, 2016. "We're a big family, and it's constantly getting harder for us to eat" Mendez said. The combination of Venezuela's sky-rocketing prices and chronic product shortages have left many struggling to put regular food on their tables and maintain a balanced diet. Amid a severe recession and dysfunctional state-run economy, poorer families say they are sometimes skipping meals and relying more on starch foods. According to one recent study, 87 percent of Venezuelans say their income is now insufficient to purchase their food needs. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SEARCH "FOOD GARCIA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Ricardo Mendez (2nd L) poses for a picture next to his relatives (L-R) Raymari Guerra, Natalia Gerra, Ricardo Mendez, Dayana Mendez, Antonela Mendez, Yolimar Vetancourt and Liz Torres, at their home in Caracas, Venezuela April 23, 2016. "We're a big family, and it's constantly getting harder for us to eat" Mendez said. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
All the food available in the house of Ricardo Mendez and his family, is pictured at their home in Caracas, Venezuela April 23, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
A combination photo shows Antonio Marquez (L) and his wife Maria de Marquez, posing for a picture (top) and the food they have at their home in Caracas, Venezuela April 23, 2016. "We are eating less, because we have been limiting ourselves. We used to keep the refrigerator full, but now is no longer so," said Marquez. The combination of Venezuela's sky-rocketing prices and chronic product shortages have left many struggling to put regular food on their tables and maintain a balanced diet. Amid a severe recession and dysfunctional state-run economy, poorer families say they are sometimes skipping meals and relying more on starch foods. According to one recent study, 87 percent of Venezuelans say their income is now insufficient to purchase their food needs. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SEARCH "FOOD GARCIA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Antonio Marquez (L) and his wife Maria de Marquez, pose for a picture at their home in Caracas, Venezuela April 23, 2016. "We are eating less, because we have been limiting ourselves. We used to keep the refrigerator full, but now is no longer so," said Marquez. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
All the food available in the house of Antonio Marquez and his family, is pictured at their home in Caracas, Venezuela April 23, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
A combination photo shows Duglas Sanchez posing for a picture (top) and the food that he has at home in Caracas, Venezuela April 23, 2016. "We are eating in a bad way, we can not eat a balanced way. If we had lunch, not dinner and if we had dinner, not breakfast," Sanchez said. The combination of Venezuela's sky-rocketing prices and chronic product shortages have left many struggling to put regular food on their tables and maintain a balanced diet. Amid a severe recession and dysfunctional state-run economy, poorer families say they are sometimes skipping meals and relying more on starch foods. According to one recent study, 87 percent of Venezuelans say their income is now insufficient to purchase their food needs. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SEARCH "FOOD GARCIA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Duglas Sanchez poses for a picture at his home in Caracas, Venezuela April 23, 2016. "We are eating in a bad way, we can not eat a balanced way. If we had lunch, not dinner and if we had dinner, not breakfast". REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
All the food available in the house of Duglas Sanchez and his family, is pictured at their home in Caracas, Venezuela April 23, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
A combination photo shows Yaneidy Guzman posing for a picture next to her daughters, Esneidy Ramirez (R), (Front L-R) Steffany Perez and Fabiana Perez (top) and the food they have at their home in Caracas, Venezuela April 22, 2016. "Now eating is a luxury, before we could earn some money and buy clothes or something, now everything goes on food" Guzman said. The combination of Venezuela's sky-rocketing prices and chronic product shortages have left many struggling to put regular food on their tables and maintain a balanced diet. Amid a severe recession and dysfunctional state-run economy, poorer families say they are sometimes skipping meals and relying more on starch foods. According to one recent study, 87 percent of Venezuelans say their income is now insufficient to purchase their food needs. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SEARCH "FOOD GARCIA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Yaneidy Guzman poses for a picture next to her daughters, Esneidy Ramirez (R), (Front L-R) Steffany Perez and Fabiana Perez, at their home in Caracas, Venezuela April 22, 2016. "Now eating is a luxury, before we could earn some money and buy clothes or something, now everything goes on food" Guzman said. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
All the foods available in the house of Yaneidy Guzman and her family, is pictured at their home in Caracas, Venezuela April 22, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
A combination photo shows Yunni Perez (R) posing for a picture next to her relatives (L-R) Carlos Acosta, Adrian Gonzalez, Luis Oliveros, Luis Oliveros and Hector Acosta (top) and the food they have at their home in Caracas, Venezuela April 22, 2016. The combination of Venezuela's sky-rocketing prices and chronic product shortages have left many struggling to put regular food on their tables and maintain a balanced diet. Amid a severe recession and dysfunctional state-run economy, poorer families say they are sometimes skipping meals and relying more on starch foods. According to one recent study, 87 percent of Venezuelans say their income is now insufficient to purchase their food needs. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SEARCH "FOOD GARCIA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Yunni Perez (R) poses for a picture next to her relatives (L-R) Carlos Acosta, Adrian Gonzalez, Luis Oliveros, Luis Oliveros and Hector Acosta at their home in Caracas, Venezuela April 22, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
All the food available in the house of Yunni Perez and her family, is pictured at their home in Caracas, Venezuela April 22, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
A combination photo shows Lender Perez (2nd R), his wife Isamar Ramirez (2nd L) and their children Lismar (L) and Lucia, posing for a picture (top) and the food they have at their home in Caracas, Venezuela April 14, 2016. "We have about 15 days eating bread with cheese or arepa with cheese. We are eating worse than before, because we can't find the foods and those we can find we can't afford," Perez said. The combination of Venezuela's sky-rocketing prices and chronic product shortages have left many struggling to put regular food on their tables and maintain a balanced diet. Amid a severe recession and dysfunctional state-run economy, poorer families say they are sometimes skipping meals and relying more on starch foods. According to one recent study, 87 percent of Venezuelans say their income is now insufficient to purchase their food needs. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SEARCH "FOOD GARCIA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Lender Perez (2nd R), his wife Isamar Ramirez (2nd L) and their children Lismar (L) and Lucia, pose for a picture at their home in Caracas, Venezuela April 14, 2016. "We have about 15 days eating bread with cheese or arepa with cheese. We are eating worse than before, because we can't find food and those we can find we can't afford". REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
All the food available in the house of Lender Perez and his family, is pictured at their home in Caracas, Venezuela April 15, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Francisca Landaeta (R) poses for a picture next to her relatives, (L-R) Luisa Gomez, Gabriel Castillo, Kerlin Garrido and Antony Arias (top) and the food they have at their home in Caracas, Venezuela April 14, 2016. "We eat today, but we do not know what we will eat tomorrow. We are bad, I never thought it would come to this," Landaeta said. The combination of Venezuela's sky-rocketing prices and chronic product shortages have left many struggling to put regular food on their tables and maintain a balanced diet. Amid a severe recession and dysfunctional state-run economy, poorer families say they are sometimes skipping meals and relying more on starch foods. According to one recent study, 87 percent of Venezuelans say their income is now insufficient to purchase their food needs. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SEARCH "FOOD GARCIA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Francisca Landaeta (R) poses for a picture next to her relatives, (L-R) Luisa Gomez, Gabriel Castillo, Kerlin Garrido and Antony Arias, at their home in Caracas, Venezuela April 14, 2016. "We eat today, but we do not know what we will eat tomorrow. We are bad, I never thought it would come to this," Landaeta said. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
All the food available in the house of Francisca Landaeta and her family, is pictured at their home in Caracas, Venezuela April 21, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
A combination photo shows Victoria Mata (2nd R) posing for picture next to her relatives (L-R) Naibeth Pereira, Sebastian, Delis Pereira, Denis Pereira (R) and Wenderly (Front) (top) and the food they have in their home in Caracas, Venezuela April 21, 2016. "We are eating less because you can't find the foods and when they appear, the queues are hellish and we can not buy. Now we do not eat three meals, we are eating two meals at the day, If we have them" Mata said. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SEARCH "FOOD GARCIA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Victoria Mata (2nd R) poses for picture next to her relatives (L-R) Naibeth Pereira, Sebastian, Delis Pereira, Denis Pereira (R) and Wenderly (Front), at their home in Caracas, Venezuela April 21, 2016. "We are eating less because you can't find the foods and when they appear, the queues are hellish and we can't buy them. Now we do not eat three meals, we are eating two meals a day. If we have them," Mata said. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
All the food available in the house of Victoria Mata and her family, is pictured at their home in Caracas, Venezuela April 21, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
A combination photo shows Alida Gonzalez (2nd R) posing for a picture next to her relatives (L-R) Manuel Garcia, Jesus Garcia, Maira Hernandez and Nixon Urbano (top) and the food they have at their home in Caracas, Venezuela April 15, 2016. "With the money we used to spend on breakfast, lunch and dinner, we can now buy only breakfast - and not a very good one," Gonzalez said. The combination of Venezuela's sky-rocketing prices and chronic product shortages have left many struggling to put regular food on their tables and maintain a balanced diet. Amid a severe recession and dysfunctional state-run economy, poorer families say they are sometimes skipping meals and relying more on starch foods. According to one recent study, 87 percent of Venezuelans say their income is now insufficient to purchase their food needs. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SEARCH "FOOD GARCIA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Alida Gonzalez (2nd R) poses for a picture next to her relatives (L-R) Manuel Garcia, Jesus Garcia, Maira Hernandez and Nixon Urbano, at their home in Caracas, Venezuela April 15, 2016. "With the money we used to spend on breakfast, lunch and dinner, we can now buy only breakfast - and not a very good one," Gonzalez said. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
All the food available in the house of Alida Gonzalez and his family, is pictured at their home in Caracas, Venezuela April 15, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
A combination photo shows Mario Bedoya (L) and his wife Carmen Bedoya, posing for a picture (top) and the food they have at their home in Caracas, Venezuela April 21, 2016. The combination of Venezuela's sky-rocketing prices and chronic product shortages have left many struggling to put regular food on their tables and maintain a balanced diet. Amid a severe recession and dysfunctional state-run economy, poorer families say they are sometimes skipping meals and relying more on starch foods. According to one recent study, 87 percent of Venezuelans say their income is now insufficient to purchase their food needs. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SEARCH "FOOD GARCIA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Mario Bedoya (L) and his wife Carmen Bedoya, pose for a picture at their home in Caracas, Venezuela April 21, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
All the food available in the house of Mario Bedoya and his wife Carmen Bedoya, is pictured at their home in Caracas, Venezuela April 21, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
A combination photo shows Rosa Elaisa Landaez (Back) posing for a picture next to her relatives (L-R) Albert Perez, Abel Perez and Yeiderlin Gomez (top) and the food they have at their home in Caracas, Venezuela April 23, 2016. "We are eating badly. For example, if we have corn flour, we eat arepas all day. If you have the money you can't find the foods and if you find you them you do not have enough money," Landaez said. The combination of Venezuela's sky-rocketing prices and chronic product shortages have left many struggling to put regular food on their tables and maintain a balanced diet. Amid a severe recession and dysfunctional state-run economy, poorer families say they are sometimes skipping meals and relying more on starch foods. According to one recent study, 87 percent of Venezuelans say their income is now insufficient to purchase their food needs. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SEARCH "FOOD GARCIA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Rosa Elaisa Landaez (Back) poses for a picture next to her relatives (L-R) Albert Perez, Abel Perez and Yeiderlin Gomez at their home in Caracas, Venezuela April 23, 2016. "We are eating badly. For example, if we have corn flour, we eat arepas all day. If you have the money you can't find the foods and if you find you them you do not have enough money," Landaez said. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
All the food available in the house of Rosa Elaisa Landaez and her family, is pictured at their home in Caracas, Venezuela April 23, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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CARACAS, April 27 (Reuters) - Venezuela's soaring prices and chronic shortages have left 65-year-old homemaker Alida Gonzalez struggling to put meals on the table.

She and her four family members in the Caracas slum of Petare now routinely skip one meal per day and increasingly rely on starches to make up for proteins that are too expensive or simply unavailable.

"With the money we used to spend on breakfast, lunch and dinner, we can now buy only breakfast, and not a very good one," said Gonzalez in her home, which on a recent day contained just half a kilo of chicken (about a pound), four plantains, some cooking oil, a small packet of rice, and a mango.

The family did not know when they would be able to buy more.

Recession and a dysfunctional state-run economy are forcing many in the South American OPEC country of 30 million to reduce consumption and eat less-balanced meals.

In a recent survey by researchers from three major universities often critical of the government, 87 percent of the respondents said their income was insufficient to purchase food.

The study of nearly 1,500 families found rising percentages of carbohydrates in diets, and found that 12 percent of those interviewed do not eat three meals a day.

Government supporters have long pointed proudly to the improvement in eating under late socialist leader Hugo Chavez, who used oil income to subsidize food for the poor during his 14-year rule and won United Nations plaudits for it.

SEE ALSO: Venezuela state employees to work 2-day week to save energy

But President Nicolas Maduro, Chavez's successor, has faced a collapse in the price of oil, which provides almost all foreign income. He further has blamed an opposition-led "economic war," though critics deride that as an excuse.

Either way, Venezuelans are tired and cross.

A minimum wage is now only around 20 percent of the cost of feeding a family of five, according to one monitoring group. Lines snake around state supermarkets from before dawn.

"You have to get into these never ending lines - all day, five in the morning until three in the afternoon - to see if you get a couple of little bags of flour or some butter," said taxi driver Jhonny Mendez, 58.

"It makes a person want to cry."

Natalia Guerra, 45, lives in a small home in Petare with eight relatives, only one of whom has a significant salary.

She remembers buying milk for her own kids but now cannot find any for her grandchildren. "We're a big family, and it's constantly getting harder for us to eat," she said.

Venezuela's Precarious Position

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