"'I have never seen things this bad,' said Jose Delgado a 56-year-old security consultant out at a protest in downtown Caracas.
"'You have to stand in line early in the morning for flour, sugar, cooking oil. You go out and you don't find food, nor spare parts for your car. This country is bleeding to death,' Mr. Delgado said.
"Mr. Maduro, who celebrated his 51st birthday Saturday, says he intends to address the country's economic woes through the legislative powers given to him in recent days by a National Assembly that is dominated by his ruling socialist party.
"The move allows the leader to draft laws without consent from Parliament. Mr. Maduro says he needs it to launch an 'offensive' against greedy business leaders and his political foes, who he says are responsible for price-gouging and seeking to destabilize the economy. Venezuela's annual inflation rate came in just above 54% in October."