Dancing with the dead: Venezuelans turn to desperate measures to survive

Venezuela is facing the worst economic crisis in its history. For those who live in the capital Caracas, daily life is about survival. Public services are barely able to function, the welfare state nothing but a distant memory. Violent crime is on the rise, while prisons are full. From the hospital to the morgue and the cemetery, FRANCE 24’s reporters show you the harsh reality of life in Caracas, where extreme poverty means people are turning to desperate measures to get by.


Warning: This report contains graphic content.

The Venezuelan capital Caracas is one of the most violent cities in the world. The situation is getting worse as the crisis deepens. Cemeteries and graves are being robbed of valuables; human remains sold into witchcraft rituals.

At the morgue, reporters count the dead every day, while undertakers look for business. But criminals aren’t the only ones spilling blood. Police officers are often accused of killing young men who are deemed suspicious.

The crisis affects hospitals across the city. The state coffers have emptied, so the government is unable to import enough equipment and medicine. In Caracas, soldiers guard state hospitals and reporters are not allowed in.

Since 2015, some three million Venezuelans have left their country – driven out by hunger, violence and disease. But not everyone is able to leave. Many of those who have stayed are looking to the afterlife for help.

A report by Romeo Langlois, Herminia Fernandez and Claire Paccalin.

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