In the first 10 months of this year, there were 17,063 homicide cases in Mexico, already more than last year’s total and the highest 10-month tally since 2012.The relapse in security has unnerved Mexico and led many to wonder whether the country is on the brink of a bloody, all-out war between criminal groups.
President Nicolas Maduro blames the so-called ‘bachaqueros’ — a new class of black marketeers who resell goods at hugely inflated prices — for the country’s problems. His critics say they are in fact a product of his own government’s inept policies.Price freezes and currency controls have given way to alarming shortages of basic goods, creating interminable supermarket lines of Venezuelans desperate to get their hands on products like flour or nappies. Many people the Telegraph spoke to said that, in such conditions, hunger and looting are not uncommon.Bachaqueros can sell basic commodities like rice and sugar at $2 and $3 per kilogram respectively, a great expense for the average Venezuelan on minimum wage. A family of five can consume up to two kilos of rice per week, spending $16 a month if they buy it on the black market — almost half the average monthly salary.In supermarkets the same products are sold under government fixed prices at 900 and 380 bolivares for rice and sugar respectively, less than one dollar. But endless queues and scarcity of products has forced many to search the black market.
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