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PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2010 7:44 am 
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Fat, gay and proud: a new kind of Venezuelan beauty queen
by Rory Carroll in Caracas
Sunday 6 December 2009



Music swells, lights flash and the contestants strut on to the stage, waving and blowing kisses. All wear high heels, bikinis and wide smiles.

It is another beauty pageant in Venezuela, a self-styled "beauty superpower" which worships physical perfection and has won the two most recent Miss Universe titles. But this show in Caracas is different. Even from the back of the theatre you noticesomething striking about the contestants. They are men. Large, chubby men.

Welcome to Miss Fat Gay Venezuela, a pageant with a new type of queen. The contest, the first of its kind, smashes taboos in a society that equates beauty with svelte, cosmetically enhanced women.

"We want to show that we too can be beautiful and sexy," said Alexander Armas, 50, an organiser whose rotund figure has earned the nickname Compote. "We're invaded by images of thin people. It's time to do something about it."

By flaunting homosexuality, cross-dressing and ample curves the contest embraces and subverts Venezuela's passion for pageants. Thousands of young women compete in contests every year. Winners go on to a "beauty factory" in Caracas which grooms them for pageants with a severe regime of dieting, exercise and surgery.

The inaugural Miss Fat Gay contest respects some conventions — there are evening gowns, swimsuits and talk of helping poor children — but annihilates others. Cellulite spills from fabric, the jokes are risque and same-sex unions are celebrated.

"I'm a queen-plus and I love my body. And I have a great boyfriend who loves me fat," said La Maracucha, a veteran drag queen.

To be overweight is one social transgression. Venezuelan men who cannot face the gym but want to show off at the beach get abdominal implants, yielding impressive if fake six-packs. A more serious taboo is to be gay. Venezuela outlaws discrimination based on sexual orientation but there is widespread homophobia, including police harassment. Caracas's gay scene is inhibited compared to other Latin American capitalssuch as Buenos Aires, Bogota and MexicoCity.

Transsexuals say the only jobs they can find are as beauticians or prostitutes, with the latter vulnerable to attack. More than 20 have been murdered so far this year, according to gay rights campaigners.

"There are a lot of macho types who don't like seeing men in women's clothing," said Alberto Maia, 27, who on stage is transformed into Miss Aragua. "It's not easy for us. Machismo is a disease."

President Hugo Chávez has spoken in favour of gay rights but a push to legalise same-sex civil unions has stalled.

Like other pageants, the Miss Fat Gay contest steers clear of Venezuela's polarised politics, although one organiser, Gabriel Silva, frames it in Chávez-friendly terms. "As a socialist and a revolutionary I disapprove of pageants as a meat parade, but tonight's show is different. It's about transformation."

In a backstage dressing room, Alberto Rodriguez, 23, was squeezing into a body-suit and morphing into Miss Lara, the name of his home state, with ruby lipstick, a wig, long nails and a frock. "We are coming out of the shadows, we are more accepted," said Rodriguez. The era of gays being lynched and skinny heterosexuals dominating the image of beauty was ending. "We all have rights, gays and fat people as much as anyone."

The hair stylist had travelled to the capital with his family which was in the audience, cheering. "I'm very proud because this is his dream," said his mother, Maura. "Look at him tonight. He's gorgeous."

Source: The Observer UK.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 4:48 am 
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Caracas Gay Pride 2010

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An activist takes part in the Gay Parade in Caracas, Venezuela
Picture: AFP/GETTY

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A man takes part in the Gay Parade in Caracas, Venezuela
Picture: AFP/GETTY

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An activist takes part in the Gay Parade in Caracas
Picture: AFP/GETTY

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 10:11 am 
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Venezuela politician raffles breast implants for campaign
27 August 2010

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Gustavo Rojas, second right, an alternate candidate of the opposition party Justice First, for Venezuela's National Assembly Sept. 26 elections, dances during a campaign event in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, Aug. 27, 2010. Rojas is using an unusual campaign fundraising technique: raffling off a breast enlargement surgery.
(AP Photo/Leonardo Ramirez)

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — A Venezuelan politician is holding an unusual raffle to raise campaign cash. The grand prize: breast implants. For a little under $6 a ticket, donors get the chance to win the pricey operation free of charge.

Breast enlargement is widely popular in image-conscious Venezuela. In recent years as many as 30,000 women have had the operation annually, according to the nation's Plastic Surgery Society.

Gustavo Rojas, who is running as an alternate for the National Assembly in Sept. 26 elections, said there is a great demand for the surgery. The prize for his fund-raising effort may be a little unusual, Rojas conceded Friday, but he said it's like raffling off a TV set or a telephone.

Source: Breitbart.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2011 6:35 pm 
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Hugo Chavez attacks 'monstrous' boom in breast implants

Hugo Chavez, the Venezuela president, has criticised the "monstrous" fashion for breast implants amongst Venezuelan women.

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Hugo Chavez has condemned doctors who 'convince some women that if they don't have some big bosoms, they should feel bad' Photo: AFP/GETTY

By Robin Yapp
16 March 2011

Venezuela has one of the highest rates of plastic surgery per capita in the world and in some cases teenage girls have had breast enlargements as birthday presents from their parents.

Now Mr Chavez has condemned doctors who "convince some women that if they don't have some big bosoms, they should feel bad." Speaking on state television, he said that it was a "monstrous thing" to see that even women from poor backgrounds were now choosing to pay to go under the knife. "It is painful to see girls or women that may not have sufficient resources for housing, to accommodate housing for the children, [to buy] clothes, who are looking to see how to do an operation on the breasts," he said.

The cosmetic surgery industry is booming in Venezuela with up to 40,000 women a year undergoing breast enlargements, according to the Venezuelan Society of Plastic Surgeons. In the capital, Caracas, billboard advertisements suggest taking out bank loans to fund surgery.

The country also has a history of success in beauty competitions, having won six Miss Universe and five Miss World titles, adding to the pressure on women to look good. Mr Chavez's remarks were praised by state media but criticised by El Nacional, an opposition newspaper, for showing an "antiquated, militaristic, coarse, repressive attitude" to the freedom of women.

Source: Telegraph UK.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2011 6:46 am 
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Human rights groups report serious violations in Venezuela
1 April 2011

Special lawmaking powers vested by the former National Assembly (AN) in Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez until mid 2011 jeopardize human rights.

The claim was lodged on March 29 by a group of university scholars and human rights advocated with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR)

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Venezuelan gay activist groups requested the National Assembly to draft laws to protect the gay community (File photo)

Human Rights
March 28

Venezuelan LGBT groups report discrimination based on sexual orientation
The Venezuelan Constitution prohibits any discrimination. However, in the South American country there are some groups such as the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) that do not even have the right to identity.

The complaint was made by Venezuelan gay activist group Diverlex in a report sent last week to Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights, and to the UN Human Rights Council, in the framework of the Universal Periodic Review, a process which involves a review of the human rights record of all 192 UN Member States. Venezuela will undergo such review in October.

The group led by Tamara Adrián, a transgender attorney, reported that in Venezuela "there are no legal mechanisms to change the name and sex of transsexual and transgender people." The group also said that attacks against gays and lesbians are hidden by authorities because "punishment for hate crimes is not provided in the law."

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A court ordered house arrest for Afiuni (File photo)

Paraguay Senate asks Venezuelan government to free Judge Afiuni
Paraguay's Senate on March 27 approved a statement urging the government of Venezuela to release María Lourdes Afiuni, the 31st Control Judge of the Metropolitan Area of Caracas.

In a statement, Senator Ana Mendoza de Acha said that Judge Afiuni was deprived of freedom because she enforced the law. "Now she faces persecution by the government of President Hugo Chávez." Mendoza added that Afiuni was subject to an "arbitrary and unfair" proceeding. "The Senate needs to take a stance and repudiate this Chávez's act that shows that there is no democracy in Venezuela, because it interferes with the Judiciary," the lawmaker complained.

Further, Senator for Patria Querida party Marcelo Duarte rebutted the irregularities of the case and said that Afiuni was "imprisoned" first and then "prosecuted." He argued that if the proceeding is to continue, Afiuni has to be released.

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Ombudswoman Gabriela Ramírez with president of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice Luisa Estella Morales and Attorney General Luisa Ortega (Photo: Vicente Correale)

March 29

Complaints against judges and prosecutors increase
Venezuelan institutions fail to comply with the State's constitutional obligation to guarantee all citizens the right to be assisted by a lawyer, to be presumed innocent, to be informed in advance about the charges brought against him and to be heard in all the phases of judicial and administrative proceedings.

This is the conclusion made after reviewing the 2010 Ombudswoman's Office annual report, according to which the number of Venezuelans who appeared before the Office to complain about the violation of their right to due process climbed 64 percent, from 730 cases in 2009 to 1,139 cases last year.

This number accounts for 18.8 percent of all the complaints related to civil rights violations that were filed last year with the Ombudsman's Office headed by Gabriela Ramírez.

The report also listed the number of complaints on violations to the right to justice, showing that they increased by 14 percent, from 137 in 2009 to 157 in 2010. Complaints about the violation of the principle of equity under the law also rose, from 37 cases in 2009 to 64 in 2010, a 73 percent increase.

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NGO Observatorio de Prisiones talks about the status of Venezuelan jails (Photo: Efe)

Human rights groups report 77 attacks against rights activists
The promotion and defense of human rights has become a risky business in Venezuela in the last few years. This was one of the findings of the report that the Committee of the Relatives of the Victims of February-March 1989 (Cofavic), the Human Rights Vicariate of the Archdiocese of Caracas and the NGO Sinergía presented on March 29 to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

The three human rights groups said in the report that 77 rights activists were attacked and assaulted between 2007 and 2010 in Venezuela. Ninety percent of those cases remain unpunished, added the document.

They also referred to the obstacles created by the Law for the Protection of Political Sovereignty and National Self-Determination, which bans them from receiving foreign funds, under penalty of fines and political disqualification.

The situation of human rights activists is be one of the five topics that Venezuelan NGOs presented to the IACHR on March 29. The spokespersons of the groups also referred to the risks the Enabling Law involves for democracy.

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Venezuelan pro-government deputy Carlos Escarrá defended the constitutionality of the Enabling Law, although he admitted that any delegation of power is "risky"
(Photo: Juan Manuel Herrera / OAS)

Claims of Enabling Law endangering human rights aired at the OAS
Special lawmaking powers vested by the former National Assembly (AN) in Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez until mid 2011 jeopardize human rights. The claim was lodged on March 29 by a group of university scholars and human rights advocated with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

Héctor Faúndez, the Principal of the Human Rights Center, Central University of Venezuela (UCV) reported the body attached to the Organization of American States (OAS) that under the Enabling Law, the Venezuelan Head of State is entitled to issue organic laws which "restrict human rights, thus violating the American Convention on Human Rights."

For his part, Román Duque Corredor, the ex President of the National Academy of Political and Social Sciences and ex judge of the extinct Supreme Court of Justice, noted that such delegation infringes the principle of legal reserve, because the Head of State has issued rules setting penalties and sanctions.

Their remarks were refuted by pro-government deputy Carlos Escarrá, who stood in for the Venezuelan State. "Under the governments of (Rafael) Caldera and (Jaime) Lusinchi, enabling laws were granted and therewith laws were issued where offenses were set forth and penalized, such as the 1994 Organic Tax Code. (...) This is customary in Venezuela."

Shortly afterwards, an oral hearing on the status of Venezuelan prisons was held. NGO Observatorio Venezolano de Prisiones (Venezuelan Prisons Watch, OVP) denounced that last year 476 inmates were killed. However; government authorities have not taken effective measures to fight violence or overcrowding in jails.

Venezuelan agent for human rights Germán Saltrón acknowledged such a serious situation, but termed "unsubstantiated" the decision of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to grant an injunction in favor of five prisons.

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The relatives of the so-called political prisoners asked the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to acknowledge the existence of political prisoners (Photo: EFE)

Chavezism accused of placing Congress "in a near death situation"
Special legislative powers granted by the lame duck National Assembly (AN) to President Hugo Chávez until mid 2011 and the reform that former legislators made to the AN Rules of Procedure and Debate Regulations have placed Venezuela's National Assembly in a "near death situation."

This assertion was made by a group of public law professors on March 29 in a hearing held at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), where the group of university scholars warned against the risks the approval of the Enabling Law involves for fundamental rights and democracy.

Professor Enrique Sánchez Falcón claimed that the reform to the AN Rules of Procedure and Debate Regulations undermines the role and mission of the Parliament because it limits its legislative and monitoring functions.

Although pro-government deputy Carlos Escarrá (United Socialist Party of Venezuela, PSUV- state of Carabobo) acknowledged that "any delegation of power is risky," he defended the constitutionality of the Enabling Law. Escarrá rejected the argument that the former National Assembly could not make a decision that compromised the current Parliament. "If it were true, the current budget would not be legal, because it was approved by the former legislature," he said.

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Afiuni waits at the headquarters of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ) to appear in court (File photo)

March 30
Wives of political prisoners rebut lack of independence of the judiciary
Four women, the wives of political prisoners Delfín Parra, Lázaro Forero, Alejandro Peña Esclusa and Rolando Guevara, reported on March 30 that the Venezuelan judiciary has been undermined by the lack of efficiency and independence. They also complained about the alleged harassment by supporters of the government of President Hugo Chávez.

In a lecture given at the National Press Club, Tahianny Pisani Romero, wife of Army General Delfín Parra, said that the officer was arrested and charged with corruption after he complained about the collusion of interest of Chávez's associates in the operation of a sugar mill. "We are a group of wives, of women without any option because the judiciary has been kidnapped by the regime," Pisani said, as reported by Efe.

March 31
Judge Afiuni's defense counsel complains about blackmail
Judge Ali Fabricio Paredes postponed until next April 7 an oral and public hearing against the suspended 31st Control Judge in Caracas Metropolitan Area María Lourdes Afiuni due to Afiuni's refusal to appear in court and the absence of the parties, reported her defense attorney Thelma Fernández.

Judge Paredes said that Afiuni Mora will be transferred to the office of presentation to comply with the measure imposed on February 2, when Afiuni was granted home arrest. Earlier, defense attorney José Amalio Graterol claimed that her principal has been the victim of blackmail. "Judge Alí Fabricio Paredes sent an employee to inform that insofar as the oral and public hearing does not begin, he would not let Afiuni's arraignment," Graterol explained.

For his part Nelson Afiuni said that his sister would not appear in court, "unless she is taken forcefully." "Thus far, my sister has not being arraigned and there is blackmail to commence the trial first and the arraignment later," he said.

Source: EL Universal.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2014 2:45 pm 
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Venezuela's newest shortage: breast implants
By HANNAH DREIER
15 September 2014

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CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- Venezuela's chronic shortages have begun to encroach on a cultural cornerstone: the boob job.

Beauty-obsessed Venezuelans face a scarcity of brand-name breast implants, and women are so desperate that they and their doctors are turning to devices that are the wrong size or made in China, with less rigorous quality standards.

Venezuelans once had easy access to implants approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. But doctors say they are now all-but impossible to find because restrictive currency controls have deprived local businesses of the cash to import foreign goods. It may not be the gravest shortfall facing the socialist South American country, but surgeons say the issue cuts to the psyche of the image-conscious Venezuelan woman.

"The women are complaining," said Ramon Zapata, president of the Society of Plastic Surgeons. "Venezuelan women are very concerned with their self-esteem."

Venezuela is thought to have one of the world's highest plastic surgery rates, and the breast implant is the seminal procedure. Doctors performed 85,000 implants here last year, according to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Only the U.S., Brazil, Mexico and Germany - all with significantly larger populations - saw more procedures.

There are no official statistics on how many Venezuelans are walking around with enhanced busts. But a stroll down any Caracas street reveals that the augmentations are at least more conspicuous here than in other surgery-loving places. Even the mannequins look they've gone under the knife. Until recently, women could enter raffles for implants held by pharmacies, workplaces and even politicians on the campaign trail. During this spring's anti-government street demonstrations, the occasional sign protesting the rising price of breast implants mixed in with posters railing against food shortages and currency devaluation.

"It's a culture of `I want to be more beautiful than you.' That's why even people who live in the slums get implants," surgeon Daniel Slobodianik said, fiddling with an FDA-approved pouch of saline solution no longer on sale here. Slobodianik used to perform several breast implants each week, but now performs closer to two a month. He says women call his office every day asking if he the implant size they're looking for. When they can't find it, they choose a second-best option, almost always a size up.

No one is giving the frustrated women much sympathy, especially not the government. The consumerism of plastic surgery has always jibed awkwardly with the rhetoric of socialist revolution. The late President Hugo Chavez called the country's plastic surgery fixation "monstrous," and railed against the practice of giving implants to girls on their 15th birthdays.

On social media, some Venezuelans take a judgmental tone, saying the panic over implants shows the real shortage here is values. Others joke that the scarcity will force Venezuelan women to start developing their personalities, using a Twitter hashtag that riffs on the Colombian telenovela "Sin Tetas, No Hay Paraiso" ("Without Boobs, There's No Paradise").

In the absence of U.S. brands, plastic surgery has become an area dominated by Venezuela's chief trading partner, China, whose goods are often given priority for import over those from other countries. They're also a lot cheaper. While a pair of implants approved by European regulators can cost as much as $600 - about the same as the annual minimum wage here - the Chinese equivalent goes for a third of that. Some Venezuelan doctors refuse to use the Chinese devices, which are not subjected to random government inspections or clinical studies. "I'm not saying they're not safe, but I've removed more than a few ruptured Chinese implants. I just don't feel comfortable with them," Slobodianik said.

April Lee, an analyst at the Massachusetts-based health care research company Decision Resources Group, said the medical community frowns on the use of non-FDA-approved implants.

Unable to find the devices in doctors' offices, some women are turning to the Venezuelan equivalent of the bartering website Craigslist, where sellers post pictures of black market implants of unknown origin sitting in sealed packages on kitchen tables, complete with stories of spouses who changed their minds and reassurances that the pouches remain sterile.

It's not just women looking for a more attention-getting silhouette who are struggling; some patients are in urgent medical need. Lisette Arroyo, 46, waited two months this summer to get her ruptured implants replaced, dealing with intense itching while waiting for new devices to arrive from France. She had to buy them directly from the manufacturer before they could be shipped, spending the entire $300 in foreign currency the government permits Venezuelans annually. The surgery can cost another $800. "This country is not what it used to be," she said earlier this month as awaited surgery in a blue paper gown.

For the doctors trying to manage their patients' expectations, the shortages are no less grave than Venezuela's other hardships. Dr. Miguel Angel Useche's, who performed Arroyo's delayed surgery, says women sometimes save for years for their operations, and to be told they must wait longer can be unbearable. "Women call me up saying: `I've made so many sacrifices for this. How can you not help me?'" he said.

Source: AP.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2015 6:31 pm 
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In pageant-crazy Venezuela, men compete for Miss Gay crown
22 October 2015

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In this Oct. 18, 2015 photo, contestant Jorge Solano, Miss Gay Cojedes, waits backstage, ready to compete in the Miss Gay Venezuela beauty pageant in Caracas, Venezuela. At the ninth annual competition, men donned elaborate wigs and layers of makeup to show off their skills in what they call “the art of transformation.” (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- There's a beauty contest for almost everyone in pageant-obsessed Venezuela.

In the popular Miss Gay Venezuela competition, men don elaborate wigs and layers of makeup to show off their skills in what they call "the art of transformation."

At the ninth annual event on Sunday, the frenzy of backstage activity was intense, with young men pinning wigs into place, adjusting fake breasts and creating hourglass figures by wrapping their waists multiple times with thick tape. Some spent up to five hours getting ready. After their painstaking preparation, contestants wearing 1950s-style cat eye makeup, pink lips and blonde pin curls performed song and dance numbers and strutted their stuff in sequined dresses created by some of Venezuela's top designers.

Beauty pageants have reached the level of national sport in Venezuela, which claims to have produced more international contest winners than any other country. Young women from poor neighborhoods pay huge sums to attend beauty schools with hopes of making it to the international pageant circuit. Young men compete in events that reward handsome faces and chiseled muscles.

The Miss Gay contest is less conventional, but still cleaves to some beauty contest norms, including evening wear and swimsuit competitions. All contestants have to be younger than 37 and stand at least 1.7 meters (5'6") tall.

phpBB [video]


The winner of Sunday's event was 24-year-old social media coordinator Manuel Gonzalez, who competed as Argenis Gonzalez. In classic beauty queen style, he burst into tears after it was announced he had won as the representative of Carabobo state. "It's a great achievement to get to be the face of what is such a large community in Latin America, and even bigger in our country," Gonzalez said after the glittery, silvery crown was placed on his head. "And to have so many straight people cheering us on makes me feel really privileged."

Source: AP.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 12:03 pm 
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Teenage girls turn to prostitution in Venezuela to fight starvation
by Ben Kew
3 November 2017

Growing numbers of young girls in Venezuela are selling their bodies for sex in exchange for food as the crisis-stricken country’s humanitarian crisis continues to worsen.

A report from the American Spanish-language channel Telemundo recounts a 13-year-old girl’s experience of the sex trade. “Neither my mother nor my father can give me the things I need, such as food or school necessities,” the girl said. “Now what we need is food, you know, you wake up with nothing to eat,” another child prostitute said. “I’ve been two weeks just eating plantains and with nothing — boiled plantains, fried plantains, boiled plantains, with nothing. So what am I going to do? Get to work.”

Oscar Misle, the director of the CECODAP, an organization seeking to prevent child abuse, said that approximately 45,000 young people had been forced to give up their ambitions to work as sex slaves or child prostitutes. The number of Venezuelans selling sex has risen exponentially in recent years, as people are forced into the industry as a means of survival. Women charge between 80,000 to 160,000 bolivares, the equivalent of two to four dollars an hour, although some can be found for under a dollar.

Thousands of young women have also fled the country to sell sex at higher rates elsewhere, primarily in neighboring Colombia, leading to a huge increase in human trafficking activity.

The growing levels of famine have also led to other extraordinary incidents of people searching for food, including cannibalism, eating stray dogs, and stealing zoo animals in order to feed themselves.

Socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro recently proposed the introduction of rabbit farming across many of the country’s major cities and has launched a campaign aiming to change people’s perception towards the animals by considering them as meat rather than animals.

The country’s chronic lack of products has led to the term “Maduro diet,” although government officials have denied shortages exist. An annual survey on Venezuelan living conditions released in May found that nearly 75 percent of people lost an average of 19 pounds as a result of malnutrition in the past year. 82 percent of households live in poverty. These figures are rapidly worsening amid continued economic meltdown and skyrocketing rates of inflation. According to latest exchange rates, Venezuela’s monthly minimum wage of 97,500 bolivars is now down to $2.37, equivalent to just over one cent an hour.

Source: Breitbart

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