Pump prices have soared to more than $5.20 a gallon – the highest in Central America – despite the Venezuelan leader's promise to solve the country's 'oil problem.'
On Sunday, the Amazonian states of Beni and Pando voted overwhelmingly in favor of more autonomy from the socialist government of Evo Morales.
In 2008, Venezuela's inflation rate is projected to be 25 percent – second only to Zimbabwe's.
Leaders at Wednesday's summit in Nicaragua blamed US trade policies for the region's food crisis.
The four countries, joined in a trading bloc called ALBA, said they would step up agricultural production efforts.
But critics say Venezuela's president is trying to distract from economic problems at home.
Some lawmakers say that President Ortega is taking a page from the Venezuelan leader's playbook to expand his own presidential powers.