WASHINGTON - The International Monetary Fund expressed grave concerns Friday over Venezuela's unending political crisis, seeing no end to the economic downturn and suffering of the population.
Venezuela "remains in a full-blown economic, humanitarian, and political crisis with no end in sight," the Fund said in a report on Latin American economies.
The country's economy will have contracted by 35 percent by the end of this year from 2014, and the Fund says the country is headed toward hyperinflation when prices soar uncontrollably every day for a long period.
But it said the shortages and political strife is taking a huge toll on the Venezuelan people.
"The main risk to the region relates to the humanitarian crisis and ensuing migration of Venezuelans to neighbouring countries," it said.
"The number of Venezuelans arriving in Brazilian and Colombian border towns has been rising sharply as the crisis in Venezuela intensifies."
"The refugees coming from Venezuela is an unfortunate side effect of the crisis, which is extremely severe," said Robert Rennhack, deputy director of the IMF's Western Hemisphere Department.
The refugees, he said, are putting pressure on the social services of neighbouring countries.
"The (Colombian) government is managing it as well as it can, but it's a challenge. If say half a million to a million of Venezuelans enter Colombia, that's something the government has to deal with and it's causing much problems."