HAVANA TIMES — Until otherwise proven, there’s only this life. To care for this life – or save it – we must sometimes resort to a hospital, a clinic or any healthcare center where they offer the service we need.

The situation of healthcare in Venezuela has worsened over these past months.

It is no longer simply the poor quality of medical services, the shortage of public hospitals or the high price of medical attention and medications. For months, perhaps as long as a year, the situation has become critical.

Public hospitals lack basic supplies and medications used to treat serious conditions are harder and harder to find. I know people with cancer who haven’t been able to alleviate their pain because pharmacies and hospitals lack the medication they need.

Social networks have become the best means of finding medication. But, most of the time, these searches are fruitless.

Recently, my niece-in-law got sick because of stomach parasites and had to be admitted. She’s five and, for several days, had vomiting and diarrhea because the needed medication was nowhere to be found. Neither friends nor acquaintances were able to find any liolactil at pharmacies, both in and outside Caracas.


Ultimately, someone found it, almost miraculously. Her condition didn’t worsen and had a happy ending, but I’ve heard of other children who didn’t get their medication on time…or not at all.

All is lost in the foggy statistics of those who perish from serious diseases, and statistics do not speak of the suffering these people endure while awaiting death…or how they sense they are losing their lives when a simple medication could save them.

February 27th marked yet another anniversary of the “Caracazo” (A series of heated protests and disturbances in 1992). I hope all positive energies will steer this country away from another social upheaval and from the terrible massacre that ensued at the time. If there is a powerful and clear motive for Venezuelans to take the streets, it is precisely the shortage of medications and the lack of any concrete actions to address this situation.


Caridad: If I had the chance to choose what my next life would be like, I’d like to be water. If I had the chance to eliminate a worst aspect of the world I would erase fear. Of all the human feelings I most like I prefer friendship. I was born in the year of the first Congress of the Cuban Communist Party, the day that Gay Pride is celebrated around the world. I no longer live on the east side of Havana; I’m trying to make a go of it in Caracas, and I continue to defend my right to do what I want and not what society expects of me.

7 thoughts on “Medicine Shortage in Venezuela

  • What is to blame in Venezuela is the worldwide price of oil on which much of the Venezuelan economy depends. Having a major resource collapse by 75% would crush any economy.
    The Venezuelan people vote for their leaders .
    As powerful as Fidel is in your mind, he does not appoint the government in Venezuela.
    You need to take your medication for that paranoia..

  • The means of production in Venezuela are in private hands .
    Capitalism is the private ownership and operation of the means of production .
    Ergo Venezuela cannot be anything but capitalist
    And the shortages in Cuba may possibly be due to the crushing 55 year-old U.S. embargo put in place to impoverish the island and cause a counter-revolution but perhaps you’ve not read much of the history.

  • Venezuela is “capitalist”. Right! [smile]

    Sorry, but if Venezuela was capitalist, the medicine would at least be AVAILABLE; at worst, one would have to pay a high price for it. But, again, AT LEAST IT WOULD BE AVAILABLE!

    And, of course, the Castro brothers have made sure through the years that there never have been any shortages of consumer commodities – such as medicines – in Cuba, haven’t they? [cackle]

  • I have friends in Mérida and El Vigia who face some of the same problems. There is a type boycott going on with some pharmaceutical companies and with the lack of preferential dollars available to purchase them, after giving them to many US companies, Polar and others who sell products on the black market. There is much corruption in the capitalist system still in control of the economy.

    Venezuela is a capitalist country not socialist and the Castro Brothers have little to do with it.

  • In Venezuela there’s no US embargo to blame for these shortages. What is to blame are the socialist policies endemic to centrally planned economies. The Castros are obviously not content to screw up only Cuba. They are also culpable for the problems that Venezuela is having.

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