Venezuelans 'loot to eat' amid economic tailspin

The cab of Carlos Del Pino's big rig gave him a nerve-rattling front-row seat to a surge in mob attacks on Venezuela's neighborhood markets, cattle ranches and food delivery trucks like his.

Shortly after pulling away from the docks at Puerto Cabello, the country's biggest port, he witnessed 20 people swarm a truck ahead of him and in a frenzy fill up their sacks with the corn it was carrying to a food-processing plant. The driver was held at gunpoint.

"It fills you with terror," Del Pino said.

He has hauled cargo for 14 years, and on a good month earns the equivalent of about $100, enough to support his wife and two daughters. Yet, despite his fears,...