By WILLIAM NEUMAN
CARACAS, Venezuela — Mary Noriega heard there would be chicken.
She hated being herded “like cattle,” she said, standing for hours in a line of more than 1,500 people hoping to buy food, as soldiers with side arms checked identification cards to make sure no one tried to buy basic items more than once or twice a week.
But Ms. Noriega, a laboratory assistant with three children, said she had no choice, ticking off the inventory in her depleted refrigerator: coffee and corn flour. Things had gotten so bad, she said, that she had begun bartering with neighbors to put food on the table.
“We always knew that this year would start badly, but I think this is super bad,” Ms. Noriega said.