Her belly bulging, Hilda Angarita hauls herself to five different drug stores in the sweltering Venezuelan city of Maracaibo until she finally finds post-cesarean patches.
"I'm giving birth tomorrow and here I am in the street. I want to go home," says the teacher, 37, fanning herself as she rests on a bench the day before her scheduled delivery.
....To get by, pregnant women wake up at the crack of dawn to join long store lines, try to stock up on diapers before their baby is born, visit a dozen shops for a single product, tap social media to barter goods, and spend small fortunes on the black market where smugglers jack up prices at the sight of their bellies.
Or they simply go without.Sadder, but wiser;
"Everything is an obstacle," says Angarita, who now regrets voting for late socialist president Hugo Chavez.There weren't enough examples worldwide for her to be forewarned?
Venezuela's government did not respond to requests for comment and the National Institute for Women said it was not currently authorized to give interviews. A spokesperson for UNICEF in Venezuela said she could not comment because of lack of data.And if the problems aren't captured by statistics, they aren't real?
President Nicolas Maduro, Chavez's handpicked successor, blames the shortages on speculators who he says hoard medicines and other goods to stoke anger against his government.What, he worry?
"Even if oil falls to $0, our children have everything guaranteed for them, their access to health care, education, everything," he said from behind a medical mask as he cooed over newborns during a recent visit to a paediatric hospital.Guess he forgot to mention where the money would come from to pay for his guarantees.