TIME portfolio

See What Undocumented Immigrants Carry Across the Border

Here are the ordinary objects undocumented immigrants take with them on their journey to the U.S.

Covering immigration issues can prove challenging for photographers – and not because access can be, at times, tough to obtain. Instead, image-makers such as Emanuele Satolli have to find new ways to depict immigrants’ hardship in a saturated visual landscape.

In 2007, when the Italian photographer lived in Guatemala, he realized that immigration affected the large majority of people he encountered. “Some are saving money to go North, others are enjoying their new houses after spending a few years in the U.S., while many women have to take care of their families after their husbands left for the U.S.,” he says. “I was impressed to see that immigration had such a strong [impact] on life there. And that’s why I wanted to dig deeper into this topic.”

Yet, he didn’t want to produce yet another series that depicted immigrants “crossing rivers or jumping on trains in their attempt to reach the American dream,” he says. “I had to try to find a new way to talk about this.”

And that new take came after reading a recent TIME LightBox article. “I was really inspired by [TIME’s International Photo Editor] Alice Gabriner’s post where she talked about how photo editors and photographers should work together to overcome visual challenges. In that post, she explained how [photographer] Alexandra Boulat tried to find a new way to talk about the Palestinian tragedy.”

That was in 2006, when Boulat, who had documented wars since the 1990s, had grown frustrated of “photographing endless scenes of violence in the same way she had for years, fearing that these pictures had lost their impact,” Gabriner wrote. “As a result, she began taking different kinds of pictures, focusing on the ordinary and details of normal life.”

The ordinary and the details can be found in Satolli’s images of Central American immigrants. “I was interested in the few things these immigrants bring with them on this perilous and long journey,” he says. One man carried with him a small Virgin Mary statue, hair gel and toilet paper, among other objects. Another brought an extra pair of shoes, a bible, toilet paper and a cell phone, while another traveled with only one pair of glasses so “he’d look like a local,” says Satolli.

The 35-year-old photographer met most of his subjects at La Casa del Migrante, a refuge run by Scalabrinian missionaries in the border town of Tecún Umán in Guatemala where immigrants can get help and rest for two or three days.

Now, Satolli, who continues his work on immigration, hopes that his simple, yet powerful images will help humanize undocumented immigrants. It’s an especially important goal he says, at a time when we’re inundated by images that are just the opposite—“in which [dramatic scenes] become ordinary”—and when immigration is likely to take a central role in U.S. politics this year and in 2016.

Emanuele Satolli is an Italian photojournalist based in Rome. TIME LightBox previously published his photo essay The World’s Deadliest Drug: Inside a Krokodil Cookhouse in 2013.

Mikko Takkunen, who edited this photo essay, is an Associate Photo Editor at TIME. Follow him on Twitter @photojournalism.

Olivier Laurent is the editor of TIME LightBox. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @olivierclaurent

Read next: The Best Pictures of the Week: Jan. 23 – Jan. 30

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Egypt

Egypt’s ISIS Affiliate Claims Sinai Attacks That Killed 26

At least 26 security officers died in a Sinai attack launched by an ISIS affiliate called Ansar Beit al-Maqdis

(EL-ARISH, Egypt) — An Egyptian militant group affiliated with ISIS has claimed responsibility for coordinated and simultaneous attacks that struck more than a dozen army and police targets in three towns in the restive Sinai Peninsula, killing at least 26 security officers.

The wide-ranging attacks late Thursday required a previously unseen level of coordination. At least one car bomb was set off outside a military base, while mortars were simultaneously fired at the base, toppling some buildings and leaving soldiers buried under the debris, official said.

An Army spokesman immediately blamed former Islamist President Mohammed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood of orchestrating the attack. Twenty-five Army soldiers and a policeman were among those killed.

Along with the military base that was hit, the other attacks included mortar rounds fired at a hotel, a police club and more than a dozen checkpoints, officials said.

The militants struck the Northern Sinai provincial capital el-Arish, the nearby town of Sheik Zuwayid and the town of Rafah bordering Gaza.

Hours before the attack, ISIS affiliate in Egypt posted on its official Twitter account pictures of masked militants dressed in black. They were carrying rocket-propelled grenades in a show of force, while flying the ISIS black flag.

The militant group later claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying on Twitter that two suicide bombers and three car bombs struck an army base and adjacent security building in el-Arish — the biggest of all attacks.

The posting called it “an extensive simultaneous offensive for the soldiers of the caliphate” and listed at least eight checkpoints that also came under attack in the three locations.

The group, previously known as Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, has launched several attacks against police and the army in Sinai in recent years. It was initially inspired by al-Qaida, but last year, it pledged allegiance to ISIS, which controls large parts of Syria and Iraq. In November, it changed its name to Sinai Province, or Waliyat Sinai, reflecting its loyalty and subordination to ISIS, which has captured a third of both Syria and Iraq.

At least 60 people were wounded in the Thursday attacks, according to medical officials, who also confirmed the death toll. Officials said the death toll was expected to rise. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Army Spokesman Ahmed Samir blamed the Muslim Brotherhood group for orchestrating the attacks in a statement posted on his official Facebook page.

In a brief statement, he said that because of the “successful strikes” by army and police against terrorist elements in Sinai, militants attacked a number of army and police headquarters using car bombs and mortars. He said that security forces are exchanging gunfire with the militants.

The explosions smashed windows and shook residential areas in el-Arish. Electricity went off across the city.

Egypt’s army chief-turned-president, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who led the ouster of Morsi, has been depicted as by nationalist media as the rescuer of Egypt from Islamic militancy.

El-Sissi led a wide crackdown on the Brotherhood, who staged near daily demonstrations demanding Morsi’s reinstatement, imprisoning thousands and killing hundreds in street protests.

In apparent retaliation, militants launched a spate of attacks that ranged from homemade explosive devices to suicide attacks.

The areas where the attacks took place have been under a state of emergency and a curfew since October, when militants killed 31 soldiers in an attack on a checkpoint in Sinai, the deadliest for the military in recent history.

The ISIS affiliate claimed responsibility for that attack in a video posting that showed militants spraying soldiers with bullets and vowing more attacks.

In an attempt to stop weapons smuggling to and from the Gaza Strip, authorities demolished houses and residential buildings located within 500 meters of the border, where a complex network of tunnels had long been used to bring consumer goods, as well as weapons and fighters, to and from the Palestinian territory.

Sinai-based militants have exploited long-held grievances in the impoverished north of the peninsula, where the mainly Bedouin population has complained of neglect by Cairo authorities and where few have benefited from the famed tourist resorts in the more peaceful southern part of Sinai.

The police in northern Sinai largely fled during the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak, as militants attacked their stations and killed scores of security forces.

Thursday’s attacks are expected to cause a great deal of embarrassment to the government and military after nearly a yearlong offensive in Sinai aimed at uprooting Islamic militants.

TIME Philippines

Philippines Honors Commandos Killed Fighting Rebels With Day of Mourning

PHILIPPINES-CONFLICT-UNREST-POLICE-MUSLIM
Philippine police commandos stand at attention next to the flag-draped coffins of their slain comrades shortly after arriving at a military base in Manila on Jan. 29, 2015 Ted Aljibe — AFP/Getty Images

Forty-four members of the police’s elite special action force unit were killed during a firefight with rebels earlier this week

Flags flew at half-mast across the Philippines on Friday as the entire country observed a national day of mourning following the violent deaths of 44 elite commandos during a daring raid.

President Benigno Aquino held a ceremony honoring the deceased servicemen on Friday. “The entire nation is requested to offer prayers and all public institutions are directed to lower the Philippine flag at half-mast on Friday,” Aquino said in a statement released ahead of the service.

Over the weekend, members of an elite police force entered territory controlled by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebel group in Mindanao Island’s Maguindanao province, where two high-value terrorists were believed to have been hiding.

Rebel commanders claim authorities had not liaised with their representatives before entering the territory and members were acting in self-defense when the firefight broke out.

Despite the heavy casualty toll, officials claim the raid as a success as it resulted in the death of Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, also known as Marwan, an expert bombmaker and a member of the Indonesia terrorism outfit Jemaah Islamiyah’s central command. However, authorities have erroneously claimed to have killed Marwan in the past on multiple occasions, according to the BBC.

The government signed a landmark peace accord with the MILF in 2014 after decades of civil conflict, mainly in the Philippines’ conflict-riven south.

During a televised address on Wednesday, Aquino pleaded with the nation to continue to support the ongoing peace deal and warned against retaliation in the wake of the killings.

“If the peace process won’t succeed, if we were to go back to the status quo, or if the violence gets worse, isn’t this exactly the opposite of the purpose of their sacrifice?” asked the President.

Others paid their respects to the fallen commandos via social media.

TIME India

Indian Woman Sues Uber in the U.S. Over Alleged New Delhi Taxi Rape

Members of All India Mahila Congress, women's wing of Congress party, shout slogans and carry placards during a protest against the rape of a female passenger, in New Delhi
Members of All India Mahila Congress, women's wing of Congress party, shout slogans and carry placards during a protest against the rape of a female Uber passenger in New Delhi on Dec. 8, 2014 Anindito Mukherjee—Reuters

Uber has been the subject of controversy all around the globe

An Indian woman who says she was raped by an Uber driver while she was traveling in his cab in December is suing the San Francisco–based online firm in a U.S. federal court in California, claiming it failed to put in place basic safety procedures while running its car service in India.

In her lawsuit, filed on Thursday, the New Delhi woman called the app-based service the “modern day equivalent of electronic hitchhiking.” The unidentified plaintiff also calls for Uber to overhaul its safety practices, and seeks unspecified damages in the case, according to Reuters.

The news agency quoted Uber as saying that it’s “deepest sympathies remain with the victim of this horrific crime.”

Earlier, the woman was reported to have enlisted the services of Douglas Wigdor, a high-profile U.S. lawyer who represented Nafissatou Diallo, the New York City hotel maid who accused the former International Monetary Fund managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault. Prosecutors from the Manhattan district attorney’s office went on to drop all charges against Strauss-Kahn, while a civil suit was settled out of court.

The rape allegations against the New Delhi Uber driver had prompted protests in the Indian capital, which became the focus of concerns about the safety of women after the horrific gang rape and murder of a student on a moving bus in late 2012.

[Reuters]

TIME Cuba

The U.S. Will Not Return Guantanamo Bay to Cuba, the White House Says

Military officers stand at the entrance to Camp VI and V at the U.S. military prison for 'enemy combatants' on June 25, 2013 in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Military officers stand at the entrance to Camp VI and V at the U.S. military prison for 'enemy combatants' on June 25, 2013 in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Joe Raedle—Getty Images

U.S. has leased land on Guantanamo Bay since the 1903 Cuban–American Treaty

Despite the recent historic thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations, the White House said Thursday it had no plans to return Guantánamo Bay, the site of a significant U.S. naval base and military prison on the island-nation’s southeast coast.

This announcement comes in response to Wednesday’s statement from Cuban President Raúl Castro that restoring Havana’s control of the bay is a prerequisite for normalizing ties with the U.S, Agence France-Presse reports.

However, White House spokesman Josh Earnest indicated any such move was off the cards. “The President does believe that the prison at Guantánamo Bay should be closed down,” he said. “But the naval base is not something that we wish to be closed.”

The U.S. currently controls over 45 sq. mi. of Guantánamo Bay as a result of treaties dating back to the Spanish-American War. The military prison has been embroiled in controversy for reports of torture and the absence of trials for inmates accused of terrorism.

The U.S. and Cuba reopened diplomatic ties in December after over 50 years of nonacknowledgment. Obama issued an executive order to close the Guantánamo prison in 2009, but so far this has not come into fruition.

[AFP]

TIME China

Is China’s Official News Agency Following a Japanese Porn Feed on Twitter?

If so, perhaps the notoriously frosty ties between the old East Asia rivals are warming at last

The official news outlet for China’s Communist Party appears to be a follower of Japanese pornography.

On Friday morning local time — when the adjacent screen shot was taken — the China Xinhua News listed Absolute JP Porn as one of the 3,301 Twitter users it was following.

There is no indication whether this is a prank by a third party or if Xinhua’s verified account is following, for news and research purposes, a feed that claims to link to pornographic images of Japanese women on a daily basis.

Several other suspect accounts, featuring profile photos of attractive women, appear among the list of Twitter users followed by Xinhua.

Relations between China and Japan have been mired with bitterness for decades in the wake of the atrocities committed by the Japanese military on Chinese soil during World War II. But perhaps a thaw is finally taking place across the East China Sea.

TIME portugal

Portugal Offers Citizenship to Descendants of Expelled Jews

Jose Oulman Bensaude Carp
In this photo taken on Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015, Jose Oulman Bensaude Carp, President of the Jewish community in Lisbon, waits to be interviewed by The Associated Press at the main Jewish synagogue in Lisbon. Francisco Seco—AP

Portugal currently boasts around 1,000 Jews, but that number might rise soon

Portugal approved this week new rules for granting citizenship to descendants of the nation’s Sephardic Jewish community. The landmark move was first proposed two years ago, but had stalled in the absence of cabinet approval.

Under the Inquisition, which ravaged Portugal and neighboring Spain in the 15th and 16th centuries, Sephardic Jews were expelled, forced to flee, or risked death if they did not recant and convert to Christianity.

“There is no possibility to amend what was done,” said Portuguese Justice Minister Paula Teixera da Cruz, terming the new legislation “the attribution of a right.”

The Portuguese government acknowledges Jews inhabited the region before the nation as we know it today was even created. However, in order to obtain a passport, Sephardic Jews must provide strong evidence of ancestral ties to Portugal through their last names, Portuguese language use, or direct lineage to Portugal’s current Jewish minority.

Many in the diaspora still speak Portuguese in their households, despite being forced to leave the region after targeted religious pogroms on the Iberian peninsula.

Spain is also considering reinstating citizenship for its former Jewish community.

[BBC]

TIME Netherlands

Video: Dutch Police Confront Gunman Who Broke Into TV Studio

Footage from the broadcaster shows the gunman, a young man in a suit and tie, drop his weapon and surrender to police.

An armed man entered the Dutch national broadcaster on Thursday demanding to be put on the air before police restrained him.

No one was hurt in the incident, according to the broadcaster, NOS, which vacated its offices and temporarily stopped broadcasting. The motives of the gunman, a young man a in a suit and tie, are unclear.

Video footage published by NOS shows the gunman saying, according to a Reuters translation, “The things that are going to be said, those are very large world affairs. We were hired by the security service.”

In the clip above from NOG, police demand that the gunman drop his weapon and then put him in handcuffs. No shots are fired.

TIME portfolio

Meet Saudi Arabia’s Special Security Forces

These forces don’t pull their punches

In March 2013, photographer Lynsey Addario, along with TIME‘s Africa Bureau Chief Aryn Baker, gained access to Saudi Arabia’s highly secure and secretive Special Security Forces’ training grounds. They witnessed how the elite soldiers’ intense exercise regimen has prepared them to face all forms of terrorism or threats in the Kingdom. Following the death of King Abdullah, Interior Minister Muhammad bin Nayef, who leads his country’s counterterrorism program and oversees these forces, was named Deputy Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. He is now second-in-line to the throne.

Every country has its moment of reckoning. For Saudi Arabia, it was May 12, 2003, when heavily armed militants affiliated with al-Qaeda attacked residential compounds in Riyadh, killing 36, including nine Americans. That assault was just the beginning of a terror epidemic that unleashed car bombings, suicide attacks and targeted assassinations on a country that had known relative calm for nearly a decade. The number of attacks climaxed in 2004, when more than 60, including several foreigners, died throughout the country in a campaign of violence orchestrated by al-Qaeda militants bent on destroying the Saudi monarchy. The government responded by bolstering its Special Security Forces, crack anti-terror teams that work under the Ministry of Interior to root out terrorists in the Kingdom.

For three years, the Special Security Forces battled with militants in the country’s urban expanses, until the threat died down with the capture and killing of the al-Qaeda chief and hundreds of other militants in “pre-emptive” strikes in late 2006 and early 2007. Lessons learned from those early days now form the core of Saudi Arabia’s Special Security Forces curriculum. The forces, which number about 10,000, go through a rigorous training program designed to prepare soldiers for every possible contingency, from an attack on a VIP convoy to hostage search and recovery, bomb clearance, storming militant hideouts, pinpoint parachute landings, precision shooting and surveillance. In March 2013, TIME was granted rare access to a demonstration that put the newly trained recruits through their paces. “2003 to 2007 was a good lesson for us. The kind of training we have now reflects the new era of terrorism,” said Major Ahmad Hakimi, as he guided us through the purpose built facilities just outside Riyadh.

The facility boasts a massive, foam-covered and bullet proof shooting arena with adjustable housing configurations, to mimic urban house clearing. The adjoining warehouse features an entire airplane fuselage so commandos can practice combatting would-be hijackers. Outside recruits practice dropping from helicopters into fake compounds, in the style of the bin Laden capture. They climb up and rappel down water towers and practice hand-to-hand combat with designated “enemies.” They don’t pull their punches either—learning to take a gut punch is part of the training.

Basic military training lasts three months, followed by another month of basic security training and an additional specialization that can last for anything from two months to seven. There is a strong focus on explosives, and Hakimi seemed to take particular delight in having his visitors inadvertently set off pyrotechnic “bombs” triggered by every day objects, from the tab on a can of Pepsi to a doctored Koran or a small briefcase. None of the disguised bombs were invented, he explained. Militants had used each at one time or another in the Kingdom, to devastating effect. “It’s important to realize that anything has the potential to set off a bomb. We have to be aware,” he said.

Saudi society is strictly segregated along gender lines. Even when it comes to security issues, female police deal with women and male police, men. I asked if there were any women in counterterrorism training. Hakimi laughed, and pointed out that there would be no need in Saudi society. So what happens in the case of female terrorists? I asked. Hakimi, our voluble guide with an answer for everything, was momentarily stumped. “I guess,” he allowed, “we deal with terrorists as terrorists. It doesn’t matter when they are trying to harm our nation.”

Lynsey Addario, a frequent TIME contributor, is a photographer represented by Getty Images Reportage.

Michelle Molloy, who edited this photo essay, is a senior international photo editor at TIME.

TIME energy

Oil Prices Changing the Face Of Global Geopolitics

petrol-pump-closeup
Getty Images

Russia and Venezuela are two of many to be involved in the upcoming changes

In a documentary that aired recently on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s popular The Fifth Estate program, an allegory of Vladimir Putin was presented. The wily Russian president was described growing up in a shabby St. Petersburg apartment, where he would often corner rats.

Now, punished by low oil prices and Western sanctions against Russian incursions in Ukraine/ Crimea, Putin is himself the cornered rat. Many wonder, and fear, what he will do if conditions in Russia become increasingly desperate.

In the last six months oil prices have plunged over 50 percent and the Russian economy is hurting. The country now faces slowing economic growth, a depressed ruble, and runaway inflation estimated to be up to 150 percent on basic foodstuffs.

The Kremlin is counting on austerity cuts to help balance its budget, which has revenues coming in at $45 billion lower than earlier projections. The exception, significantly, is defense. With the military exempted from the austerity plan, it begs the question of whether Putin will “play the nationalist card,” such as he did in Crimea, in an effort to strengthen greater Russia during a period of economic weakness.

Georgia On His Mind

We are already seeing this to be the case. As Oilprice.com reported last week, Putin is set to absorb South Ossetia – Georgia’s breakaway republic that declared itself independent in 1990. Under an agreement “intended to legalize South Ossetia’s integration with Russia,” Russia would invest 2.8 million rubles (US$50 million) to “fund the socio-economic development of South Ossetia,” according to Agenda.GE, a Tbilisi-based news site.

The situation is analogous to Crimea because, like Crimea, South Ossetia contains a significant Russian-speaking population with ties to the Motherland.

If Putin succeeds in annexing the tiny province, it will be a real poke in the eye to the United States, which provoked Russia in the early 1990s by promoting construction of a pipeline between the former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Georgia. The BTC pipeline moves oil from Baku in Azerbaijan to Tbilisi in Georgia and then onward to Ceyhan on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast.

BTC started operating in 2006. Then, two years later, Putin built his own pipeline to cut out Georgia. The South Ossetia pipeline run by Gazprom stretches 75 kilometers from South Ossetia to Russia.

The current move on South Ossetia is a way for Russia to assert its energy independence in the face of Western sanctions and low oil prices.

It comes as Russia announced plans to divert all of its natural gas crossing Ukraine to a route via Turkey. As Bloomberg reported last week, Gazprom will send 63 billion cubic meters through a proposed link under the Black Sea to Turkey – after the earlier South Stream pipeline, a $45-billion project that would have crossed Bulgaria, was scrapped by Russia amid opposition from the European Union. By sending the gas to Turkey and on to Europe via Greece, Gazprom is in effect sending Europe an ultimatum: build pipelines to European markets, or we will sell the gas to other customers.

According to one observer, the proposed land grab in South Ossetia combined with the snub to Europe by shifting its gas to Turkey and bypassing Ukraine, is a classic Putin power play:

“Russia is preparing to absorb a province of neighboring Georgia, and delivering an ultimatum to Europe that it could lose much of the Russian gas on which it relies,” Steve LeVine writes in Quartz. “Putin has argued that the west is simply intent on ousting him and weakening Russia… Faced with these perceived attempts to undercut him and his country, Putin suggests that he has no choice but to pull around the wagons and stick it out. This could go on a long time.”

Plunging Oil Prices Crash The Stock Market?

When oil crashed in 2008 all hell was breaking loose. Lehman Brothers went up in smoke and stocks were in a nosedive. Oil has once again crashed -50% in only 6 months but equities haven’t followed – at least not yet! Will stocks hold up going forward? You might find it hard to believe just how much wealth could have been created last time this happened. If we learn from the past, this could be a second chance to make an absolute fortune.

Some have speculated that the oil price crash was orchestrated by the Saudis, possibly in collusion with the United States and other Gulf states, to punish Iran, its main political and religious rival in the Middle East.

Whether or not that is true, there is no denying the effects of a low oil price on Iran’s economy. “Iran is already missing tens of billions of dollars in oil revenue due to Western sanctions and years of economic mismanagement under former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,” Bloomberg reported on Jan. 7. Like Russia, Iran is looking at spending cuts in next year’s budget, which is based on an overly-optimistic $72 a barrel crude oil price.

However, unlike Russia, which is “circling the wagons” and pulling further away from the West currently, the oil price drop could actually lead to more of a détente between Iran and Western countries. In a speech on Jan. 4, President Hassan Rouhani said Iran’s economy “cannot develop in isolation from the rest of the world,” while at the same time, Iran’s foreign minister was negotiating a nuclear deal that could see the lifting of UN sanctions, the Washington Post observed.

Then there is the cooperation between the West and Iran over the terrorist group ISIS. The National Post’s J.L. Granatsein wrote in a column on Tuesday that Iran has deployed substantial numbers of its Revolutionary Guard elite Al Qods brigade into Iraq and Syria to fight ISIS, along with Western allies including the US, Britain, France and Canada. This is despite Iran’s support for Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria’s president Assad.

“Politics makes strange bedfellows indeed, but not much can be stranger than this. Led by the Americans, hitherto the Great Satan to the Iranian leaders, the ties between the West and Iran are becoming tighter, each side reacting to the horrors of Islamist fundamentalism throughout the region,” Granatsein writes. “The Iranians have been hurt by sanctions, and they are being wracked even more by the falling price of oil. Easing curbs on trade and Iranian banks may mitigate the effects of the oil price collapse.”

Venezuela Bracing For The Worst

The other major loser in the oil price collapse, Venezuela, may not see such a positive outcome. Wracked by decades of economic mismanagement by Hugo Chávez, the South American oil producer was already struggling to pay its debts when new president Nicolás Maduro came to power.

Now, with inflation running at 60 percent and lines forming outside state grocery stores for food and other basic supplies, Maduro faces the specter of serious social unrest if conditions do not improve. The country has some of the world’s cheapest gasoline prices, but Maduro has refused to end fuel subsidies, fearing, no doubt, a repeat of widespread riots in 1989 that left hundreds dead after gasoline prices were allowed to rise.

Venezuela is even more dependent than Russia on the price of oil, earning some 96 percent of its foreign currency from oil sales, putting Maduro in the untenable position of either borrowing more, despite crushing debts, or slashing spending:

“With only $20 billion left in its reserves, and $50 billion in debt to China alone, Venezuela appears headed toward a choice between abandoning its oil giveaways and defaulting on its debts, or starving its own population to the point of revolt,”according to the Washington Post.

This post originally appeared on OilPrice.com.

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