Venezuela is still paying for its failed experiment with socialism. The country still faces shortages of basic supplies, especially food, and the Chinese have cut off new loans after a decade of economic assistance. The supply shortages are probably the most pressing debacle facing President Nicolas Maduro, the late Hugo Chavez’s successor. Venezuelans have resorted to looting, breaking into zoos and eating animals, and finding sustenance in trashcans. For those who live with chronic illnesses, medicine is hard to find. For those suffering mental illnesses, the breakdown of reality only becomes more explicit (via NYT):
The voices tormenting Accel Simeone kept getting louder.
The country’s last supplies of antipsychotic medication were vanishing, and Mr. Simeone had gone weeks without the drug that controls his schizophrenia.
Reality was disintegrating with each passing day. The sounds in his head soon became people, with names. They were growing in number, crowding the tiny home he shared with his family, yelling obscenities into his ears.
Now the voices demanded that he kill his brother.
“I didn’t want to do it,” recalled Mr. Simeone, 25.
He took an electric grinder from the family’s garage. He switched it on.
But then, to spare his brother, he attacked himself instead, slicing into his own arm until his father raced in and grabbed the grinder from his bloody hands.
Venezuela’s economic collapse has already decimated its health system, leaving hospitals without antibiotics, surgeons without gloves and patients dying on emergency room tables.
Now, thousands of mental health patients — many of whom had been living relatively normal lives under medication — are drifting into despair and psychosis because the country has run out of the vast majority of psychiatric medicines, leaving families and doctors powerless to help them, medical experts say.
The hospital system has deteriorated to the point where conditions resemble the 19th century and reports of newborns being placed in cardboard boxes in maternity wings because there are no supplies. To deal with the food crisis, the government established the Local Committees of Supply and Production (CLAP), but has threatened to cut off food aid to anyone who has criticized Maduro’s government, the same government that’s so detached from reality that they’ve banned lines outside of bakeries and grocery stores to avoid showing the world how terrible 21st Century Socialism has become. It’s a total disaster (via PanAm Post):
Six months after the creation of the Local Committees of Supply and Production (Clap) that is designed to “distribute food directly to the people,” the government has decided to change its approach by threatening those using the program.
The Venezuelan government announced that it will suspend delivery of food packages to those who criticize its policies.
The suspension of an unnamed member of the communal council will last for three months, but could extend much longer, officials warned.
In addition, officials threatened to impose penalties against those who make their discontent with the government public by removing their information from the Clap database.
Isn’t socialism great, folks?