Photos of empty grocery shelves show dire situation in Venezuela

Desperate Venezuelans swarmed supermarkets on Saturday in a rare chance to stock up on basic goods amid a spiraling economic crisis that has resulted in widespread poverty and food shortages. 

Embattled President Nicolás Maduro, who has consistently blamed the nation’s financial woes on low oil prices and a U.S.-led plot to topple his regime, ordered grocery stores to reduce their prices in an effort to fight staggering hyperinflation (Venezuela’s inflation rate reportedly soared to 2,616 percent in 2017.)

The slashed prices prompted mobs of shoppers to flock to the stores, leaving strikingly bare shelves behind.

Maduro came under fire late last year when he was filmed eating an empanada during a live TV address, while millions of his citizens languished in hunger.

18 PHOTOS
Desolate grocery stores show dire food crisis in Venezuela
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Desolate grocery stores show dire food crisis in Venezuela
A woman selects goat cheese from partially empty refrigerators at a supermarket in Caracas, Venezuela January 10, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Bello
Workers sit on empty shelves at the fruit and vegetables area in a supermarket in Caracas, Venezuela January 10, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Bello
Empty refrigerators are seen at the fish area in a supermarket in Caracas, Venezuela January 10, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Bello
A woman stands in front of partially empty refrigerators at a supermarket in Caracas, Venezuela January 10, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Bello
Police officers stand guard outside a supermarket in Caracas, Venezuela January 10, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Bello
A woman selects lemons from partially empty shelves at the fruits and vegetables area in a supermarket in Caracas, Venezuela January 10, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Bello
A man walks past empty shelves at the bakery area in a supermarket in Caracas, Venezuela January 10, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Bello
A woman walks past empty shelves at the fruits and vegetables area in a supermarket in Caracas, Venezuela January 10, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Bello
Stacked shopping carts are seen next to empty refrigerators at the deli area at a supermarket in Caracas, Venezuela January 10, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Bello
Police officers control the crowd as people line up to buy sugar, outside a supermarket in Caracas, Venezuela January 10, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Bello
People walk past empty shelves at a supermarket in Caracas, Venezuela January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Bello
A woman looks at a partially empty refrigerator in a supermarket in Caracas, Venezuela January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Bello
A man looks at an empty refrigerator in a supermarket in Caracas, Venezuela January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Bello
A man walks past an empty refrigerator at a supermarket in Caracas, Venezuela January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Bello
Empty refrigerators are seen at the butchery area in a supermarket in Caracas, Venezuela January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Bello
An empty refrigerator is seen at a supermarket in Caracas, Venezuela January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Bello
A woman walks past empty shelves at a supermarket in Caracas, Venezuela January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Bello
A woman walks past an empty refrigerator at a supermarket in Caracas, Venezuela January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Bello
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  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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