(Natural News) Life in Venezuela under the “socialist revolution” of President Nicolas Maduro continues to devolve into a hellish existence, and that is especially true when it comes to basic human needs like nourishment and medical care.
To the latter, things are so bad in the South American nation that at any given time, its pharmaceutical association estimates that there are shortages of around 85 percent of commonly used medications.
That has led to the creation of so-called “medical flea markets” in which peddlers offer everything from antibiotics — which now cost an average of $10, or twice the minimum wage — to contraceptives, the UK’s Daily Mail reported. But even at ten bucks, that’s still below what other retail outlets are charging, hence the growing popularity of the markets.
As Maduro lives large at his people’s expense, refusing to admit that his ‘Bolivarian revolution’ (which was actually begun under his predecessor, the late Hugo Chavez), his people are suffering mightily. Strict currency controls have destroyed national production and the ability to import necessary goods like food and, of course, medicines.
As such, Venezuelans who get sick have to go from pharmacy to pharmacy in order to find the right medicines, often making appeals on social media for assistance.
And while we’re no fans of Big Pharma here at Natural News, chronic shortages of all foods make it nearly impossible for Venezuelans to find and eat clean, healthy, GMO- and toxin-free foods so they need fewer medications in the first place. Truly, it’s a lose/lose situation for the people.
So they have to do whatever they can to survive, and that’s a large part of how and why medical flea markets sprang up; as established pharmacies continue to run short of medications, a free-market alternative to the crippling socialism model has emerged.
Some medicines sold in the flea markets come from a burgeoning black market that buys them from local hospitals or obtains them from across the border in Colombia.
“Here I can find the vitamins I need for my memory,” said Marisol Salas, 56, who has suffered a stroke, while purchasing the pills at a small flea market near the main bus terminal in the Andean city of San Cristobal.
As she made her purchase, other customers asked about various medications ranging from birth control pills to blood pressure medication.
“People are looking for anticonvulsants a lot recently,” Antuam Lopez, 30, one of the flea market vendors who also sells vegetables, told the Daily Mail. He added that hospital employees most often supply him with drugs, for a fee.
For his part, Maduro says that the vendors are involved in some scheme with the United States and that’s why there are so many shortages — of medicines and everything else.
That’s just like a Leftist “revolutionary” — blame everyone but yourself for the failure of the world’s worst economic model ever, save for out-and-out communism. (Related: Banned video reveals the horrors of Venezuela’s starving population.)
And while this free-market solution to fill a major need is better than nothing it isn’t as if the flea markets are ideal, either. The Daily Mail reported that packaging on many boxes of medications are visibly deteriorated, while others are discolored and dirty.
“We found that a lot of them have not been maintained at proper temperatures,” said Dr. Jose Oberto, an oncologist who heads up Zulia state’s doctor’s association.
That said, many Venezuelans know they don’t have much choice — it’s either oft-tainted contraband medicine or nothing.
“I had to buy medicine from Colombia and it worried me because the label said ‘hospital use,’” Esledy Paez, 62, a retiree, told the paper.
Some medications are just too expensive, since many only earn a few dollars a month thanks to soaring inflation (another wonderful side effect of a socialist economy).
Unless or until the Maduros of Venezuela step down or are replaced with leaders who return the country to its capitalist roots — it used to be the jewel of South America — this is the life Venezuelans will live.
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J.D. Heyes is also editor-in-chief of The National Sentinel.