Sometime Caracas Chronicles contributor Carlos Hernández has an amazing OpEd in the New York Times today on the way hunger has quietly made its up to the middle class in Ciudad Guayana.

We decided to make tea combining resources from our four apartments. We couldn’t scrounge up enough sugar. Someone had frozen pineapple and passion fruit peels. Someone boiled water.

Everyone brought their own cup, each with a different design. Mine, with a picture of a cow, was the ugliest. We sat on the floor of the hallway outdoors and in the shade of a tall mango tree.

The infusion was surprisingly tasty, considering the ingredients. One of the guys said, “Yeah, and it helps a little with the hunger.” That’s Manuel. He’s a law student and the youngest in the group. He used to be buff.

My brother, a lawyer who once had a fat neck, nodded. “We don’t even have the mangoes to round off dinner,” he said. I looked at the tree. We live on the third floor, so we’ve always been able to grab its highest fruits fairly easily. In season, they usually go to waste. This year, the tree’s already bare.

There’s something uniquely powerful in the deadpan way Carlos puts forward his personal experience of hunger here and melds it with a casual — almost funny — but unmistakably urgent call for international action and humanitarian aid.

It’s…well, just read it.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Those are bittersweet news for me, I mean on the one hand I was published in the NYT, that’s huge for me, on the other I did it by saying things like I had to brush my teeth with salt, something I haven’t shared with anyone because is kind of embarassing.

    Anyway I’m glad people are liking it and if I get people abroad to talk about this, that’s a win for me. I hope those OAS diplomats read it too.

    Thanks for the feature 😀

    • “It’s better to go to sleep, so you don’t feel the hunger,” said María, a lawyer who worked as an undocumented immigrant in a restaurant in Spain but returned after two months, horrified by the working conditions there. I said, “Do that, and you end up dreaming of food.”
      You will have to give some details about those horrible working conditions in the spanish restaurant
      otherwise your whole article is not credible at all

  2. In our conversations with family in Venezuela people make light of the fact that they are losing a lot of weight. That is how Venezuelans usually are- they make light of things that would otherwise frighten the bejeezus out of a person. I hope people in positions of responsibility will listen to this undramatic, effective and direct account of what is going on. Thank you.

  3. The other thing here, is that kids are malnourished, and adults too. What they eat is mainly cheap carbohydrates, bad food. If there’s a mango tree, they might get lucky with a few mangoes. Otherwise, it’s just white bread with some jelly. On the long run, this takes a toll on anyone’s health. I don’t see people really starving to death, as they do in Africa, but some are malnourished.

  4. “It’s better to go to sleep, so you don’t feel the hunger,” said María, a lawyer who worked as an undocumented immigrant in a restaurant in Spain but returned after two months, horrified by the working conditions there. I said, “Do that, and you end up dreaming of food.”
    I do not get
    Does it really mean that working in a rrestaurant in Spain is horrible!!
    May i ask details
    i thought spain was a country that trespect people
    yhat comment disqualify or that carlos say avout venezuelan conditions
    maybe he is trying to go back to the capitalist way of doing things

    • She was undocumented and her employer took advantage of that, at one point she was working crazy long shifts with no payment at all, only the three meals

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