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His name was Kevin Lara Lugo

His name was Kevin Lara Lugo, and he died on his 16th birthday.

He spent the day before foraging for food in an empty lot, because there was nothing to eat at home. Then in a hospital because what he found made him gravely ill.

Hours later, he was dead on a gurney, which doctors rolled by his mother as she watched helplessly. She said the hospital had lacked the simplest supplies needed to save him on that day last July.

“I have a tradition that in the morning of their birthdays, I wake up my children and sing to them,” his mother, Yamilet Lugo, said. “How could I do that when my son was dead?”

Venezuela has suffered from so many ailments this year. Inflation has driven office workers to abandon the cities and head to illegal pit mines in the jungle, willing to subject themselves to armed gangs and multiple bouts of malaria for the chance to earn a living.

Doctors have prepared to operate on bloody tables because they did not have enough water to clean them. Psychiatric patients have had to be tied to chairs in mental hospitals because there was no medication left to treat their delusions.

Hunger has driven some people to riot- and others into rickety fishing boats, fleeing Venezuela on reckless journeys by sea.

But it was the story of a boy with no food, who had gone searching for wild roots to eat but ended up poisoning himself instead, that seemes to embody everything that had gone wrong in Venezuela.

-Nicholas Casey, Adbusters #131