In fact, the Center for Documentation and Social Analysis, an organization associated with the Venezuelan Teachers Federation, found in a recent survey that "72 percent of wages are being spent just to buy food," and that the average family needs the equivalent of 16 minimum-wage salaries to properly feed itself.
"We're seeing terrible sacrifices across many sections of society," Carlos Aponte, a sociology professor at the Central University of Venezuela, told CBS News. "A few years ago, Venezuela didn't have the kind of extreme poverty that would drive people to eat garbage."
Thirty-seven-year-old Leidy Cordova told the New York Times that she and her five children can no longer afford to eat more than once a day. "My kids tell me they’re hungry," she said. "And all I can say to them is to grin and bear it."
Another resident, 45-year-old Vanessa Furtado, told the paper that she and her mother, 69-year-old Lucila Fonseca, are both ill — Furtado with a brain tumor and Fonseca with lymphatic cancer — and don't have enough food or money for both of them to eat, so Furtado often gives up her food so her mother can eat. "I used to be very fat, but no longer," Furtado said. "We are dying as we live."
Venezuela's years-long economic crisis has also led to shortages of medicine, basic goods like toilet paper and soap, and rolling blackouts. Moreover, the Huffington Post reports that government employees are now working only two days a week.
Read the full New York Times report here.