As Venezuela enters its seventh year in continuing economic contraction and fourth writhing under hyperinflation, the minimum monthly wage has dropped below $0.90. People can not afford to bury their loved ones properly.
On October 3, a grieving family had to wrap the body of a deceased minor in sheets and transport it in a wheelbarrow to the local cemetery for burial in Coro, Falcon state.
This is where the rubber meets the road: where a complex humanitarian crisis becomes painful. A proper burial can go for $400 in a country with a minimum wage is some $4.
In a video that has since become viral, the narrator describes the situation. “They don’t have any money, that is why they bring him bare. Not even a box,” said the person who recorded it.
The president of Atheneum society in Coro, Olga Elena Hidalgo de Curiel, wrote with indignation her opinion column about the situation, which she described as unprecedented in the Falcons capital.
“We do not deserve to witness the painful, Dantesque and demeaning scene for a human being who deserves respect and consideration even after death,” she said.
No agency with the local or regional government provided any assistance to the grieving family, Hidalgo de Curiel noted; and, although there is a line-item budget in Coro (Miranda municipality) to attend to this type of contingency, they did not help.
But this is not the first time that the use of wheelbarrows to move bodies to their final place gets documented by El Pitazo.
The complex humanitarian emergency in the country and hyperinflation has not only made it difficult for many families to pay for funeral services or even the urn. The shortage of gasoline caused a similar situation seen on the streets of Cumana, the capital of the state of Sucre, on August 12. Nine days later, the same thing happened in Acarigua, state of Portuguesa.