As the sun sets, Venezuela’s capital empties

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — When the sun goes down in Venezuela’s capital of Caracas, the once-thriving metropolis empties under darkness.

Many street lights don’t work. Residents avoid stepping outside their homes due to crime — or for lack of anything to spend — as a creeping economic collapse has accelerated amid a political battle between socialist President Nicolas Maduro and his foes at home and abroad. A string of devastating nationwide blackouts last month dramatized the decay.

Even under the light of day, billboards often have nothing to promote, their skeletal framework bare long after the wind has ripped away old advertising.

As dusk falls, many storefronts are just graffiti-scrawled security doors chained shut. Often just a single business along a city block is able to stay open, awaiting sparse customers. Others close earlier, like a beauty salon, its few remaining clients forced to decide between the simple luxury of haircut or buying food. Read more:

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