Venezuela’s Birth Control Crisis
Thursday, March 10, 2016
Toilet paper. Diapers. Vitamins. Milk. These are a few of the items Venezuelans can no longer expect to find at their local grocery stores and markets. The scarcity can be traced back to 2014, when oil prices first started to plummet and the economy found itself in dire straits. Venezuela’s oil revenue makes up 95 percentof its export earnings, and the slump in oil prices has buried the country in $10 billion of debt.
The continued drop in the price of the gallon has thus negatively impacted Venezuelans’ ability to afford many of these essential goods. The absence of one product in particular has resulted in dangerous repercussions for women throughout the country: condoms.
Venezuela has 85 percent fewer condoms and other contraceptive products than it did earlier in the first half of 2015, according to Freddy Ceballos, president of the Pharmaceutical Federation in Venezuela. Today, there are very few pharmacies that carry condoms at all, and the ones that do have marked them up to exorbitant prices—4,500 bolivars (around $700) for a single box. In a country where the yearly minimum wage is only 11,578 bolivars (or $1,823), it’s safe to assume splurging on condoms is not an option for most Venezuelans.
- Health Care