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Many Venezuelans can no longer afford to brush their teeth. A tube of toothpaste in the country now costs the equivalent of half a week’s wages for many workers because of 700 percent inflation.
Factory worker Ana Margarita Rangel is only brushing her teeth once a day because she doesn’t have enough toothpaste. Rangel’s pay has been reduced to the equivalent of $33 a month because of hyperinflation.
Prior to the crisis, she brushed her teeth in the morning and evening.
“Now I have to choose,” Rangel said of cleaning her teeth. “So I do it only in the mornings.”
Toothpaste is just one of many things Rangel is rationing or eliminating because of hyperinflation, The Washington Post reported. Meat, juice, coffee and chocolate are no longer in her family budget.
“I don’t spend my afternoons cooking anymore, because I don’t have meat to season or vegetables to cut,” Rangel said, “and chocolate! We can’t even afford to buy a little cup of coffee on our way to work. We used to be able to have juice with our meals, I miss it so much.”
- Socialist President Nicolas Maduro raised the nation’s minimum wage by 20 percent to 250,000 strong bolivars a month on July 1. That’s the equivalent of $33 a month, meaning the average Venezuelan earns less than people in Haiti – the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere, where the average income is $135 a month.
- With the new minimum wage, a family can buy five cartons of eggs or six pounds of powdered milk.
- 82 percent of the people in Venezuela are living below the poverty line. In 2014, 52 percent of Venezuelans were above the poverty line.
- Security guard Romer Sarabia is feeding his family chicken feed he buys on the black market.
- Factory worker Rainer Figueroa has stopped playing soccer and lost 24 pounds because he only eats two meals day. Figueroa went on a “diet” so kids would have enough to eat. “I can’t afford to burn calories or wear out my sneakers,” Figueroa said. Figueroa works at a diaper factory that no longer produces diapers because it cannot afford to buy raw materials.
There is one luxury Venezuelans can afford: reality television. Rangel admits she no longer gets together with her friends. Instead, she watches her favorite show from America.
“I love watching the Kardashians, because you see how people that have everything live,” Range said. “And for a moment you forget what your life is like.”
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