Coca-Cola is halting production of its namesake soft drink in Venezuela for the foreseeable future due to a shortage of sugar.

The US company says it is being forced to take the action because it has run out of the raw material.

Venezuela’s economy is teetering on the edge of collapse with widespread food shortages and inflation forecast to surpass 700%.

Last month, Venezuela’s largest food and drinks company, Empresas Polar, stopped production of beer because it was unable to obtain enough imported barley.

Last week Mr Maduro imposed a 60-day state of emergency giving extra powers to police and soldiers.

But analysts say that for many Venezuelans, the state of emergency is irrelevant as their daily life now involves spending hours waiting to buy scarce food and basic goods.

The situation in the country has got progressively worse. Last year the US designated Venezuela a danger to its national security.

On Friday, in response to the unrest, the President launched what he billed as the country’s biggest-ever military exercises.

Two days of drills included fly pasts by Russian-made Sukhoi Su-30MK2 strike jets and state TV showed tanks and troops on manoeuvres.

The drill, codenamed “Independence 2016”, involves 520,000 soldiers and military personnel and is thought to be aimed at the United States, which Mr Maduro blames for most of his country’s problems.

There have been some reports of looting in Venezuela in recent weeks.

Foreign mediators have been in Caracas trying to arrange discussions between the government and the opposition to ease the political strife.

The Obama administration and governments in Latin America are backing moves by former Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero to defuse the increasingly tense standoff.

Source: Coca-Cola Forced To Stop Production In Venezuela

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