They call them bachaqueros. Venezuela’s army of black market shoppers descend every day at dawn outside Caracas’s biggest stores.
Named after the bachaco leaf-cutting ant that carries several times its weight, the men and women queue alongside hundreds of other Venezuelans for food, nappies, milk and other basic goods.
They stand for hours in the blistering heat, motivated not by hunger, but profit.
Half-empty shelves in most shops means goods bought at government-controlled prices can be sold at a significant mark-up.
Even under Chavez and $100 a barrel oil, debt was rapidly rising and there were already food shortages,” he says, “This is ultimately to do with an interventionist model that is not sustainable and has reached a tipping point.
In April I bought some fruit and vegetables for 430 bolivars. Last Saturday the same items cost me 14,000 bolivars.
What they have been doing so far is depleting assets in order to make their payments – and that is clearly not sustainable. READ MORE