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Venezuela also leads the planet in price inflation. Even its official annual inflation rate – 56 percent – is the highest in the world. More realistically, after factoring in the black market, economist Steve Hanke of John Hopkins University and the Cato Institute calculates Venezuela's real rate of inflation at more than 300 percent.Venezuela is forced to import about two-thirds of its food, as well as consumer goods.In a failing effort to make up the difference, Venezuela has been running down its foreign currency reserves. A 2011 United Nations study found that Venezuela had the fourth-highest homicide rate in the world.Of the 177 countries that Transparency International ranked in its 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index, Venezuela is the worst in Latin America and among the worst (160th) in the world.Dozens of human rights groups and civil society organizations in Venezuela and throughout the hemisphere have denounced the reported torture and cruel and degrading treatment of arrested protesters.It is past time to recognize that the fundamental problem in Venezuela is not momentary police excesses, but a misguided and dysfunctional system of government.
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