Venezuela’s health care system has been relegated to something out of the 19th century. Hospitals lack even the most basic supplies, like soap and gloves, with rolling blackouts—at times—having deadly consequences for the infants in the various maternity wards. The Washington Post’s editorial board mentioned that 200,000 Venezuelans with chronic illnesses don’t have access to medicine, though they failed to mention that left wing economics is partially responsible for the deteriorating situation in the country. Yet, for one eight-year-old boy, who protested the appalling scarcity of medicine, including the drugs he needed to fight his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, his struggle ended with his death (via PanAm Post):
The eight year old whose image went viral several months ago after participating in a protest against Venezuela’s drug shortages died recently after he was unable to receive the medicine he needed.
“I want to get better, peace and health,” Sanchez’s sign read during a demonstration, which made him the face of an unprecedented humanitarian crisis turned Venezuela.
Oliver Sanchez was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma just over a year ago, but shortages of medicines needed for treatment led him and his family to participate in the demonstration.
“We are in a desperate situation,” his mother Mitzaida Berroterán said at the time.
Sanchez’s cousin Ricardo Lobo told the newspaper Efecto Cocuyo that at the time, the child “asked for paper and a pencil and wrote the sign.”
Lobo said that what little medical care they could get ended up being by donation.
Sadly, the situation in the country is likely to get worse before it gets better. Besides the growing medical emergency, we have hungry Venezuelans going through garbage cans to find food.