... Venezuela is falling apart. Inflation may reach 13,000% this year. Few people have enough food, and infants are dying of starvation. President Nicolás Maduro is deeply unpopular, but he’s still expected to win today’s election. How? The authoritarian leader is using access to food and money as a weapon to manipulate voters and sideline his opponents. In Venezuela, only 10% of people can afford enough to eat, and government food boxes are a lifeline for the hungry. Critics accuse the government of manipulating Venezuelans by threatening to take away rations if they don’t vote or show up at rallies. Our photographer @meridithkohut
, who took this picture, writes that people sometimes get surprise text messages from the government telling them they will get cash bonuses, often on holidays. For poor citizens, it can be equivalent to several weeks of wages. That’s enough to convince many to vote for President Maduro. Others don’t see the point in voting at all. “If we go out to vote or not, Venezuela is already destroyed,” said Álvaro Castillo, who recently waited 37 hours for subsidized food in Plaza Venezuela, a crime-ridden area of Caracas. @meridithkohut
, who was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for her coverage of #Venezuela
, took this photo in Petare, a slum on the outskirts of Caracas. Visit the link in our profile to read more about how Venezuela’s president keeps his grip on a shattered country.