According to the latest Caritas Venezuela report, the inflation of food prices exceeded 1,300% in 2017. Likewise, the International Monetary Fund estimates that inflation in Venezuela will be 13,000% in 2018, the highest rate in the world.
On May 1st, the minimum monthly wage rose from 1.3 million bolivars to 2.5 million; this means a 95% increase. It is the ninth salary increase since January 2017 and the third one in the course of this year. Despite the increase, it is practically impossible for ordinary citizens to buy anything. One kilo (2.2 pounds) of chicken costs 2.5 million bolivars, one kilo of rice costs 600,000 bolivars, two rolls of toilet paper cost 500,000 bolivars, a bottle of water costs 200,000 bolivars. The basic family basket would approximately cost the equivalent of 50 minimum wages.
Venezuela also finds itself in a political crisis: the government has scheduled the presidential election for May 20. In its most recent press release, the bishops’ conference of Venezuela said the election would not be legitimate. The bishops charged the vote would be held “without the proper guarantees that goes with every free, trustworthy, transparent election process;” the hierarchy said that, instead “of solving the crisis that the country is experiencing, the [election] might make it worse and bring the country into an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe.” The bishops’ statement also noted the “countless disqualifications of possible candidates” and requested the election be postponed until the last quarter of the year.