By James Blears
Venezuelans went to the polls on Sunday to choose a President, amidst the worst economic crisis in the history of the Country.
Whoever wins today's Presidential Election in Venezuela is facing a daunting crisis, which is worsening by leaps and bounds towards economic disaster.
By year end inflation in Venezuela will peak at 14,000 percent. Economists estimate that prices double every seventeen days, acute shortages of basic necessities and medicines, 600,000 Venezuelans have fled to neighbouring Colombia, where most are living as refugees.
90 percent in poverty
One US dollar is now worth 700,000 Bolivars. The mínimum monthly wage is equivalent to three US dollars. A study by several universities, showed that during 2017, the average Venezuelan lost eleven kilograms in weight and that 90 percent of Venezuelans now live in poverty.
Yet Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserves in the World. Four years ago the international price of petroleum nosedived and Venezuela, which imported rather than produced, was hit particularly hard.
Maduro seeking re-election
Incumbent President Nicolas Maduro who's going for re-election has defiantly said: "We're going to win, but we must win by ten million votes. We'll give imperialism and the oligarchy traitors a lesson".
His main rival Henri Falcon left the ruling Socialist Party in 2010. He warns Venezuela simply can't cope with another six years of this. The main opposition coalition called the Democratic Unity Round Table, better known as MUD, is boycotting the election.