It doesn’t really matter how many tweets or retweets you get, or the urgency. It doesn’t really matter if your friends, three celebrities and 30 WhastApp groups have shared your request. You might get lucky and find something, but when there’s nothing left, there’s nothing left.
The urgency, your contacts and some solidarity may get you something from the outside, but what if you need it for 5 or 10 days, for one patient, for two or three? We’re reduced to being that person, the one that solves personal and family emergencies. We become smaller and desperate. Others act selfishly, and who can blame them?
For more than a year we have been getting the heart medicine we need because a guy had leftovers from a stash he brought from Colombia for his dad, but he didn’t make it back on time and his dad died. We felt even worse after another donation: a gentleman had stopped taking his medicine and when he finally got it he died after going into shock with the first dose. Imagine his son having to say “I killed my dad, because I got him the medicine he needed”.
You receive the donations, but you don’t know how to be thankful. We were lucky enough to find another neurological medicine in Spain, 100 pills per box (50 days worth). We get it regularly now, but will it be enough to give some away to everyone who asks for a donation? No effing way. The shortages began in 2013 and we hadn’t seen the medicine since 2014. I went to the lab and they have none left and they’re not even planning to make them again. The Government hasn’t paid them and the fact they haven’t been able to collect has not only meant that their business has shrunk but that they’ve lost all credibility with their international suppliers, so it will be hard for them to reactivate that production line.
In the meantime, I had to help two people who were suffering convulsions in the street because without their pills they’re basically walking time-bombs.
This year we’re basically going to continue burying people. We’re going to bury people and miss work and skip school because we’re going to be taking care of the sick, because when someone in the family goes down, we all go down.
The state of emergency is real. The Venezuelan Pharmaceutical Federation made a formal request this week for international help to source 150 medicines. It’s a humanitarian emergency. No other country in the continent is going through a similar situation right now, not even Haiti.
The decisions have been taken by someone who believes that the controls are not to blame, it’s just that they haven´t been implemented with sufficient rigor. They’ve been taken by someone who prefers to kill us so that they can continue stealing, by someone who will tell you this isn’t real socialism yet and that it is necessary to demolish everything so that the people finally embrace the idea and surrender.
It’s probably even worse than that. Decisions have been taken by someone who will use a certain amount of US dollars in a week or so, not to pay the suppliers of food and medicine, but to actually make bond payments on debts that they themselves have issued and bought back, because the flight of capital they have orchestrated must continue, right before our eyes, on the graves of those who didn’t ask for a socialist motherland and were left on the wrong side of the equation. The revolution has fulfilled more threats than promises, and death is just one of them.
After the results of the December 6 elections they threw in the towel. They’re really not bothered about replenishing the shelves and seem intent on distributing even greater shortages among people who are increasingly worse off. When people stand in a queue for something it means they are in dire need of an immediate solution. These are people that have collapsed and been reduced to a mere transaction, people controlled by fingerprints, vulnerable and dependent.
I don’t know if it’s possible to resist and say “let’s make a deal, let’s not die”, because it makes no sense. However, what we can do is tell these stories so we can build the necessary antibodies to prevent this tragic realism novel ever happening again. After all, we’ve got plenty of stories, what we haven’t got are vaccines, treatments, reagents, catheters, chemo medicine, pills or plasma. When there’s nothing left, there’s nothing left.
Luis Carlos Diaz Vazquez
The author’s publishing rights have been granted to InfoVzla.