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Suicides rates soar in socialist Venezuela as financial crisis continues

People queue to buy basic food and household items outside a supermarket in the poor neighborhood of Lidice, in Caracas, Venezuela. Suicide rates in the country are climbing after years of economic turmoil. (RONALDO SCHEMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

Suicides in Venezuela are on the rise as citizens struggle to survive during a financial crisis that has been ongoing for years.

What are the details?

While Venezuela's government data is considered unreliable (if disclosed at all), Bloomberg News reports that suicides rates are rapidly climbing to levels the socialist country has never seen before.

Available statistics obtained by Bloomberg indicate that in the capital city of Caracas alone, 786 suicides have occurred so far in 2018 . By comparison, the entire country saw 788 suicides total in 2012.

One advocacy group for the elderly says the number of older Venezuelans who took their own lives jumped 67 percent in 2017 from the year prior, and another study showed that suicide rates among minors rose 18 percent last year.

In 2016, sociologist Eudes Cedeno of the Central University of Venezuela explained to the Panam Post that the country's "lack of food, medication and the stress generated by the food lines end up being ... unbearable for some people, which makes them alienate themselves and retreat into private."

"Imagine thinking that you would never be able to feed your children ever again. Or that, because of your condition, because there are no medications available, you will become a burden to your children," he continued. "It is here where all the psychological and sociological problems start to arise."

"Venezuelan society has become a sort of 'survivalist society,'" Cedeno added. "People here don't live, they survive. And that is the problem. Many people don't even know there are others killing themselves because of the situation in the country. This stops people's sensibility ... some people choose to rob, others to eat trash, others to beg and others decide they can no longer take it and choose to end their lives."

Anything else?

Time reported Tuesday that hunger is now the major driver for crime and violence in Venezuela. The starvation experienced by nine out of 10 households is referred to as "The Maduro Diet" by locals, named after President Nicolas Maduro, who has led the country with increasing authoritarianism and socialist policies since 2013.

Last year, the average Venezuelan lost 24 pounds, according to Time, and "hundreds of thousands of children are at risk of death from malnutrition."

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