"We will have to adapt to using one a day, and limit the affection," Ernesto told VICE News in a recent interview. "In Maracaibo, Margarita, and Merida, everything is out of stock."While scouring the shelves of nine pharmacies in two of those cities, he managed to find three boxes, for a total of nine condoms. Those, obviously, won't last long."I'm excessively careful every time I put one on," Ernesto said. "I don't want to break the few I have left."The quest for condoms — as well as other basic necessities, like sanitary towels, soap, and toilet paper — has ramped up tensions in recent months for the citizens of Venezuela, a country facing critical shortages of goods due to skyrocketing inflation rates and a shortage of US dollars in circulation. On Tuesday, a 14-year-old was killed by a police officer shooting rubber bullets during a demonstration in the city of San Cristobal, reports said.Venezuela Is Running Out of Everything, and the Government Is Blaming Supermarket and Pharmacy Owners. Read more here.
'I'm excessively careful every time I put one on. I don't want to break the few I have left.'
In the view of the Chavista government under President Nicolás Maduro, the shortages are due to an "economic war" pursued by the political opposition and the upper classes. Maduro has lashed out, blaming the shortages of goods on the "vampires of the ultra-right," and "the parasites of the bourgeoisie, and their methods of economic warfare."
Unable to find condoms, Juan said with resignation, he and his partner recently settled for kissing, hugging, and then 'finished the session in manual mode.'
With condoms and contraceptive pills in short supply, Venezuelans risk further aggravating the already sobering statistics on teen pregnancy.
Finally, at a supermarket in El Cafetal, a wealthier area of Caracas, I managed to find a box of unreasonably priced condoms.
'I brought back several boxes from Las Vegas. … It's an investment in the future.'
But there are still many others who can not turn to friends outside the country, or don't have foreign currency to purchase condoms online."I bought a lot of them in 2014, when you could find them. If I run out, I will have to be abstinent until I find some," said Juan P. "I have adapted to the unadaptable, to menstrual cycles, to limiting myself, to breathing … It is bread today and hunger tomorrow. And this is a necessity, a human right."Some have resigned to the fact that they will not be able to find condoms for a while. But for how long?"Alternatives? I guess going out to do things in public, so we don't think about fucking," said Juan A. jokingly."Next comes tantric sex, or a lot of karate," said Eduardo D.Watch Full-Length VICE News Documentary Venezuela Rising.Follow Alicia Hernandez on Twitter @por_puesto.
'Alternatives? I guess going out to do things in public, so we don't think about fucking.'