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Venezuelans 'switch off Christmas' as malaise sets in

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THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: As Venezuela reels from shortages and triple-digit inflation, people are more worried about buying food than giving gifts this festive season.

Caracas

"CHRISTMAS is dead," said Elise Belisario, who, like many Venezuelans, cannot afford to hang decorations or make a traditional holiday meal this year.

And 2016 augurs bleak times too in this staggering oil giant, where the New Year looks set to bring political power