According to recent reports, Venezuela’s economy is teetering on the edge of catastrophe because of the plummeting price of oil. Venezuela’s oil exporting business makes up 95% of the country’s export revenue, and the recent price plunge is affecting day-to-day life on many levels.

Various items such as contraceptives have reached such extreme levels of scarcity that a pack of 36 condoms, when found, can cost up to $755, according to Vice:

The economics behind this situation are pretty simple: A drop in export revenue means that the government has less money to spend on imports and social services. “Instead of cutting social spending,” Bloomberg reported today, “Maduro has responded to lower revenue by slashing imports.”

Venezuela now has an inflation rate of above 50 percent, and in Caracas, a box of tampons costs $17; a two-liter of Coke is $7. And that’s if you happen to catch a store when its shelves aren’t empty. For its part, the government is blaming private business owners for the shortages of goods, reported VICE News today—the country’s intelligence agency even arrested several pharmacy executives “on allegations that they had conspired to create the spectacle of hundreds of people lining up for scarce goods to embarrass his administration and foster a counterrevolution.”

Further complicating the situation for Venezuelan women: They cannot legally get abortions in their own country.

— Posted by Donald Kaufman.


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