In this Aug. 23, 2017 photo, a woman pick out plantains at a market in Caracas, Venezuela. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)
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While President Nicolas Maduro celebrates having calmed Venezuela's streets after months of deadly protests, the country's imploding economy poses an ever more severe threat.Even before the sanctions were announced, most Venezuelans were struggling like never before. Since 2014, the year after Maduro took office, the economy has shrunk 35 percent – more than the U.S. did during the Great Depression.The government accuses U.S. President Donald Trump and the opposition, which has backed the sanctions, of trying to oust Maduro through an "economic war".The sanctions, enacted by executive order last week, prohibit American banks from providing new money to the government or state-run oil company PDVSA.Still, by depriving Maduro of badly needed hard currency, the sanctions make it more likely that Venezuela will stop payment on its debt, or reduce what few goods it still imports at the official rates.
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