Hannah Dreier and Ricardo Nunes

Undone by the decline in the price of oil and the years of mismanagement by the socialist government, the country of Venezuela has edged toward ruin. With the farming and food industries collapsing, shortages have caused the average Venezuelan to spend 35 hours every month waiting in lines at the supermarket. Anti-government protests ended in violence, and security has given way to vigilante justice. Associated Press reporter Hannah Dreier chronicled the calamitous fall of this once-prosperous country, amid a humanitarian crisis of mass starvation and food riots, and an economic crisis that featured an inflation rate of 700 percent. When Venezuela opened the border with Colombia to allow citizens to buy rice and flour, Dreier joined the thousands who made the journey. Her chilling investigation showed that Venezuela’s military, from generals to foot soldiers, has been getting rich off trafficking food, with widespread graft and corruption that started at the top. Despite receiving death threats from Venezuelan intelligence officers and being held at gunpoint by police, Dreier never stopped reporting about this heartbreaking situation in rich detail.

Gerald Loeb Awards 2017