Venezuela economic crisis
Protesters clash with riot police during a rally to demand a referendum to remove Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, September 1, 2016.Reuters

As Venezuela prepares to host the 17th Domestic Non-Aligned Summit on Tuesday, domestic unrest fuelled by economic issues is expected to overshadow geopolitical issues that the Cold War-era bloc was created to address. While Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's socialist government will try to use the five-day summit to be held at the island of Margarita to bolster its international image, his opponents who have been campaigning to remove the president's rule want to use the event to highlight the economic crisis the nation is facing.

"We're angry and frustrated as we see the nation's money misspent to feign a false normality. Our children do not drink milk and people eat once or twice a day — while the politicians demand the best champagne and wine at their banquets," Nathalie Gomez, a 36-year-old hotel worker from Margarita was as quoted saying by Reuters.

National Assembly president Henry Ramos who has repeatedly led calls for Venezuela to be liberated from Maduro's rule alleged that the government has thwarted the plans of opposition leaders to assemble in Margarita alongside the summit. "The government prohibited sea and air carriers from transporting us," he said via Twitter.

Venezuela is suffering a third year of recession, triple-digit inflation, and shortage of basics commodities.The government blames the oil price fall and an "economic war" by foes, while critics say 17 years of failed socialist policies and corruption are the causes. The plunge in global crude prices over the past two years has crippled the Venezuelan economy, which is heavily dependant on its oil exports.

Pictures of the economic crisis showing empty shelves in supermarkets, starving animals in zoos, replacement of wooden coffins with cardboard ones and women seeking voluntary sterilisation have overwhelmingly galvanised opinion against Maduro.

People buy food and other staple goods inside a supermarket in Caracas, Venezuela June 30, 2016.Reuters
A boy sits next to empty refrigerators inside a supermarket in Caracas, Venezuela June 30, 2016.Reuters
A man grabs a piece of a broken refrigerator, after a butcher's stall was looted in the slum of Petare in Caracas, Venezuela June 10, 2016.Reuters
A combination photo shows the contents of peoples fridges in Caracas, Venezuela April 2016. The combination of Venezuela's sky-rocketing prices and chronic product shortages have left many struggling to put regular food on their tables and maintain a balanced diet. Amid a severe recession and dysfunctional state-run economy, poorer families say they are sometimes skipping meals and relying more on starch foods. According to one recent study, 87 percent of Venezuelans say their income is now insufficient to purchase their food needs.Reuters
Women prepare for sterilization surgery at a hospital in Caracas, Venezuela July 27, 2016.Reuters
Women wait for sterilization surgery a hospital in Caracas, Venezuela July 27, 2016.Reuters
Elio Angulo lies inside a cardboard coffin as he introduces his product to potential customers at a mortuary in Valencia, in the state of Carabobo, Venezuela August 25, 2016.Reuters
A drawing made during a lesson at a school shows what a student ate during the course of a day in Caracas, Venezuela July 14, 2016. The student wrote, "Ate corn cake with cheese for breakfast; had spaghetti with egg for lunch and a cookie for dinner." The student said that pizza was their favourite dish. Picture taken July 14, 2016.Reuters
Employees stand next to donated food for animals at the Paraguana zoo in Punto Fijo, Venezuela July 22, 2016. Picture taken on July 22, 2016.Reuters
A lion sleeps inside a cage at the Caricuao Zoo in Caracas, Venezuela July 12, 2016.Reuters
People line up to buy food at a supermarket in San Cristobal, about 410 miles (660 km) southwest of Caracas, February 27, 2014. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Pope Francis called on Wednesday for an end to violence in Venezuela that has killed at least 13 people and urged politicians to take the lead in calming the nation's worst unrest in a decade.Reuters
Protesters clash with riot police during a rally to demand a referendum to remove Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, September 1, 2016.Reuters
Opposition supporters carry a banner that reads "lets recall him" during a rally to demand a referendum to remove Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas, Venezuela, September 1, 2016.Reuters
A protester tries to break apart a car during a rally to demand a referendum to remove Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, September 1, 2016.Reuters
An injured man is helped after clashes with the police during a rally to demand a referendum to remove Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, September 1, 2016.Reuters
People push a door while they gather to try to buy pasta outside a supermarket in Caracas, Venezuela, June 10, 2016.Reuters
People push a door while they gather to try to buy pasta outside a supermarket in Caracas, Venezuela, June 10, 2016.Reuters
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