WASHINGTON (AP) — Venezuela's seizure of a General Motors factory Wednesday comes as that nation's economy is gripped by a long-running downward spiral that has caused widespread misery. The prices of food and other essentials have soared, and jobs have disappeared.
Those struggles have been exacerbated by the country's repeated confiscation of foreign assets, with roughly 25 corporations now fighting Venezuela's government before a World Bank panel over such seizures.
Here are some figures that illustrate Venezuela's economic calamity:
A CRATERING ECONOMY
Last year, the nation's economy shrank 18 percent — a depression-level catastrophe — according to estimates by the International Monetary Fund. By comparison, Greece, Europe's worst-off economy, shrank 9.1 percent at the depth of its crisis in 2011.
Last year Greece's economy was unchanged. Venezuela's economy shriveled 6.2 percent in 2015 and 3.9 percent in 2014, when a collapse in global oil prices plunged the oil-rich country into chaos.
Despite the country's vast oil resources, Venezuelans wait in line for food, gas, and other staples, which are soaring in price. Inflation jumped an eye-popping 255 percent last year, according to the IMF, after a 122 percent leap in 2015.
The only other country in the same league, according to the IMF, is newly-created South Sudan, with inflation of 380 percent in 2016.
The nation's jobless rate reached 21.2 percent last year, up from 7.4 percent in 2015. That is similar to the rates in some struggling European countries, such as Spain, where the rate was 19.6 percent in 2016.