After decades of authoritarian socialist policies and wealth redistribution, the country of Venezuela is collapsing.

Here are a few examples of how the financial system that once called an “economic miracle” has deteriorated for the people forced to live under it.

1. If you live in Venezuela your money is worthless.

After current President Nicholas Maduro seized control over monetary policy of the country, a steep and steady devaluation of the currency has taken place. According to CNN:

Socialist President Nicolas Maduro has touted the Bolivarian Revolution, started by his deceased predecessor Hugo Chavez, as a successful movement. The goal is to equally distribute wealth among all the country's people. Maduro has continued massive public spending programs to appeal to the country's poor.

But the bolivar's implosion has only created more inequality. There's a growing divide between Venezuelans who can pay to exchange bolivars for dollars and those who can't.

Here is the rate of inflation the the Bolivar, the Venezuelan currency:

venezuela inflation_0
Via Zerohedge

Here is the Bolivar's value against the U.S. dollar:


One Bolivar is now worth less than a penny.

2. The Venezuelan government does not have enough paper to even print money.

A vendor counts Bolivar notes at her stall in Caracas on February 10, 2015. The Venezuelan government confirmed Tuesday the partial release of the market exchange after creating a new mechanism for buying and selling foreign currency through banks and stock operators, though the percentage of devaluation of the local currency, the Bolivar, wasn't disclosed. AFP PHOTO/JUAN BARRETO (Photo credit should read JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images)
Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images

Venezuela is printing currency at an alarming rate, and the government is forced to outsource that printing to offshore companies. The financial site Zerohedge explains why:

“The central bank’s own printing presses in the industrial city of Maracay don’t have enough security paper and metal to print more than a small portion of the country’s bills, the people familiar with the matter said. Their difficulties stem from the same dollar shortages that have plagued Venezuela’s centralized economy, as the Maduro administration struggles to pay for imports of everything, including cancer medication, toilet paper and insect repellent to battle the mosquito-borne Zika virus.”

3. Grocery stores are barren wastelands.

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AFP/Getty Images

Government stores are open just two days a week and are only accessible with a valid ID that limits them to a certain number of products. Even with these restrictions, these stores look like barren wastelands. Venezuelans wait all day in line hoping to get their hands on basic goods like bread and milk.

4. A hamburger will cost you $170.

TO GO WITH AFP STORY by Valentina Oropeza and Ernesto Tovar A woman waits at a bakery displaying a sign reading "No Bread", in Caracas on February 25, 2016. On any given day, people in Venezuela can wait hours to get some subsidized milk, cooking oil, milk or flour — if they can find any — with some bakeries rationing their bread production and others selling no bread at all. Venezuela, which is sitting on the biggest known oil reserves from which it derives 96 percent of its foreign revenues, has been devastated by the drop in prices and is beset with record shortages of basic goods, runaway inflation and an escalating economic crisis. AFP PHOTO / FEDERICO PARRA / AFP / FEDERICO PARRA (Photo credit should read FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images)
Federico Parra/AFP/Getty Images

Economic shortfall has officially made hamburgers a luxury in the country. What many Americans enjoy off the value menu at McDonald’s is now worth 1,700 Venezuelan dollars or $170, according to Yahoo.

5. People are hunting dogs, cats, and pigeons to eat.

Image credit: Leo Ramirez/Getty Images
Leo Ramirez/Getty Images

The situation in Venezuela has gotten so severe that bakeries can’t even produce bread anymore. Empty store shelves coupled with hyperinflation has left the community turning to hunting down dogs, cats, and pigeons to survive.

6. Clean water=gold.

Image credit: Federico Parra/Getty Images
Federico Parra/Getty Images

As if the crippling economic crisis wasn’t bad enough, the El Nino weather system has caused water levels to drop dramatically. With 60% of the country's electricity powered by a hydroelectric plant, the country is in a desperate situation.

On top of that, many communities are faced with yellow water that is filled with dirt. Water trucks that carry clean water get robbed 2-3 times a week, leaving drinkable water hard to come by.

7. There’s a black market for milk.

A worker milks a cow at a small farm in San Jose, Barinas State, about 650 km from Caracas, on August 2, 2015. Venezuela's economy has been spiraling as it faces a drop in international oil prices and currency shortfalls leading to major shortages of basic staples and huge inflation. On any given day, people in Venezuela can wait hours to get some subsidized milk, cooking oil, milk or flour — if they can be found at all. AFP PHOTO / JUAN BARRETO (Photo credit should read JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images)
Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images

Scarcity in the country has left people looking beyond their empty store shelves to get their necessities. One person described to Telegraph that they message someone using ‘Whatsapp’ when they want to buy milk. This person’s story is more common than you think. Milk is one of the most common items on the black market.

8. There’s no toilet paper.

An employee carries merchandise while people queue up outside a supermarket in Caracas on January 20, 2015. Venezuela suffers from shortages of nearly a third of all basic goods, inflation that ballooned to 64 percent in 2014 and a recession triggered in part by a scarcity of hard currency that limits imports of essential goods. AFP PHOTO/FEDERICO PARRA (Photo credit should read FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images)
Federico Parra/AFP/Getty Images

In Venezuela, people wait in enormous lines, begging for toilet paper. In Venezuela, they don’t care if it’s 2-ply or 4-ply or if a cute bear family is on the wrapper. All they want is a roll.

When they get their hands on it, it’s like they struck gold. With Venezuelans searching up to two weeks for the product, even tourist hot-spot hotels are now asking guests to bring their own toilet paper.

9. Electricity is rationed.

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AFP/ Getty Images

Venezuela’s new 2 day workweek isn’t as glorious as it sounds. It’s actually the latest measure to cut back on power usage. Other measures include shutting off all power for at least four hours a day. Some of these blackouts last up to 12 hours, putting daily life on pause and leaving food to spoil.

10. If you become sick in Venezuela, you are in trouble.

View of the military hospital in Caracas where Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has been hospitalized following his return from Cuba on the eve, on February 19, 2013. Chavez returned to Venezuela early on Monday after spending more than two months in Cuba for cancer surgery and treatment, announcing his surprise homecoming via Twitter. "We have arrived again to the Venezuelan motherland," Chavez wrote. AFP PHOTO/Juan Barreto (Photo credit should read JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images)
Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images

The state of medical care in Venezuela is straight out of a horror movie, with a lack of supplies, clean beds and caregivers. Elderly and children are dying. Read this excerpt from a recent bombshell New York Times report:

The day had begun with the usual hazards: chronic shortages of antibiotics, intravenous solutions, even food. Then a blackout swept over the city, shutting down the respirators in the maternity ward.

Doctors kept ailing infants alive by pumping air into their lungs by hand for hours. By nightfall, four more newborns had died.

“The death of a baby is our daily bread,” said Dr. Osleidy Camejo, a surgeon in the nation’s capital, Caracas, referring to the toll from Venezuela’s collapsing hospitals.

People have turned to social media to find medicine.

Faced with a public health crisis, Venezuelans are desperately using the social media platform in a last-ditch effort to save their loved ones. Using the hashtag #ServicoPublico, they are reaching out to each other in search of pills, vaccines, and even blood transfusions.

11. Lawless gangsters can kill you and your family at will.

A man arranges tombstones with pictures of dead protesters during a prayer for Venezuelan TV news network Globovision's kidnapped journalist, Nairobi Pinto, in Caracas on April 9, 2014. Pinto was kidnapped earlier this week, while she was arriving at her house in Caracas and no one has yet contacted the family. AFP PHOTO / FEDERICO PARRA (Photo credit should read FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images)
Federico Parra/AFP/Getty Images

Venezuela is lawless. Gangs control large parts of the country and commit heinous crimes at will, with little to no recourse from the authorities.

Venezuela has one of the highest murder rates in the world:


And one of the highest kidnapping rates in the world.


For the 30 million people who live in Venezuela, these are the effects of the government's socialist policies.

Editor's Note: This article was updated after publishing.

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