Austerity measures imposed by President Rafael Caldera aimed at preventing an economic meltdown came into effect Monday.
And Venezuelans are bracing themselves for a new hike in prices.
As President Caldera's economic "shock" program blasts into full force protesters gathered in front of the I-M-F building in Washington DC to protest against its loan programmes.
The I-M-F loan to Venezuela accompanies an austerity programme which will result in a sudden rise in prices.
The austerity plan is aimed at taming inflation that is the highest in Latin America.
But it has received a cool welcome from ordinary middle class families who don't know how they will cope with the new belt-tightening measures.
SOUNDBITE: (In Spanish)
"What are we going to do, how are we going to handle the economic situation, what do we have left for our children, if we are drowning with all these measures? What do we have left for our children?
SUPER CAPTION: Carmen Arvelaez, lawyer and housewife
Caldera hopes to spur economic growth and cut unemployment, officially estimated at 11 percent.
Average Venezuelans will feel the effects immediately. Wholesale prices of staple goods could increase as much as 70 percent, according to industry sources.
For Carmen Arvelaez the new austerity could lead to social chaos.
SOUNDBITE: (In Spanish)
"The increase in the standard of living and whether we can cope with this situation because it could lead to social chaos because how much longer shall we cope, and they don't come up with a final solution."
SUPER CAPTION: Carmen Arvelaez, Lawyer and housewife
Officials say that the austerity plan will provoke a sharp jump in short-term inflation and unemployment, but that the economy should begin to recover in a few months.
Analysts believe the I-M-F agreement will further aggravate the debt problem.
"I would say today is a sad day in the country's economic history, because it doesn't make sense that a country with so many resources, more than 100 (m) million dollars in privatisation projects, go to the International Monetary Fund to fall into more debt.
SUPER CAPTION: Hugo Faria Viso, economist
Others say the new austerity will have a political and social impact.
I feel a lot of uneasiness among Venezuelans, a lot of discontent and distrust between each other. I already see an average person standing next to me as a potential enemy.
SUPER CAPTION: Alva de Soreisi, housewife
Caldera announced last week an increase in taxes and the price of highly subsidised gasoline, the lifting of currency controls, and the devaluation of the bolivar.
No matter. It will still be the man on the street that again will have to pay