The failing state of Venezuela

Venezuela, once the richest country in South America, now has ruinous inflation and food rationing and is plagued by violent crime. How did this happen? In a great piece in The New Yorker, William Finnegan offers some answers. His report reads, at times, like something from the pages of a García Márquez novel: the president claims that a little bird brings him news from the afterlife of his predecessor; there’s a brigadier-general in charge of the distribution of cooking oil; and it’s said that ransoms for the return of kidnapping victims can be paid in cash at the front gates of a prison.

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