Scuffles broke out between police and opposition lawmakers who were protesting outside Venezuela's Food Ministry to underscore shortages in crisis-wracked country. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT - NATURAL (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Opposition supporters led by legislator Carlos Paparoni clashed Wednesday (March 8) with the National Guard during a protest to highlight the country's food shortage, outside the Food Ministry in Caracas. Venezuela's brutal recession is worsening shortages across many sectors, from food to medicines like painkillers and chemotherapy drugs. Venezuela's national police and supporters of President Nicolas Maduro were on hand to try and block the protest, leading to scuffles. Lines outside supermarkets have become a fixture of modern Venezuela. According to Consecomercio, a major retail industry group, Venezuela in the past 18 months lost close to 1 million private sector jobs. Government critics say nationalizations of businesses and more than a decade of price and currency controls have crippled private enterprise, but Maduro says Venezuela is a victim of an "economic war" led by business leaders with U.S. help. Venezuela has not reported official unemployment figures since April 2016, when the rate was at 7.3 percent. A survey by three universities showed unemployment at the end of 2016 remained at that level. But the study also found 38 percent of those surveyed were working informal jobs ranging from buying and reselling goods to freelance work without benefits. Only 28 percent said they were public employees and 27 percent had a job in the private sector.