Shortages of basic products such as corn, milk and chicken have plagued Venezuela for years, creating long lines at supermarkets and pushing inflation well past the 60% mark just in the last year alone.
More recently, shortages are affecting people in the South American country in a more personal way. Venezuelan consumers complain condoms and birth control pills are nowhere to be found. Shortages that first affected the dining table have now made their way into the bedroom.
CNN visited eight pharmacies in Caracas, the Venezuelan capital. Four had no condoms at all and the other four had limited availability. A couple only carried only one domestic brand.
Yuraima Bacher, a pharmacy manager, said her establishment doesn’t get supplies with the frequency they once did.
“Can you believe it? It’s been two weeks [since the last shipment]. Things have been slow since early January, and it’s been the same thing so far this month,” Bacher said.
Venezuelan store owners arrested for allegedly intentially causing long lines at markets. 02:57
Venezuelans are turning to Mercado Libre, or Free Market. It’s a website similar to eBay where consumers buy and sell all kinds of products.
One subscriber is selling a box of 36 condoms for 4,760 bolivars. That’s a whopping $755 U.S. dollars at the official exchange rate. It’s also 85% of the Venezuelan monthly minimum salary, currently at 5,602 bolivars.
President Nicolas Maduro announced in June his government was building a condom factory to supply the domestic market. The factory was built, but pharmacy managers say quality has not been what their customers demand. Production levels are not meeting domestic demand either.
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