Lack of wood, metal, cement and natural gas. Venezuelan crisis hit the funeral industry – The Economic Journal

Lack of wood, metal, cement and natural gas. Venezuelan crisis hit the funeral industry - The Economic Journal


The decline of Venezuela's oil industry has overwhelmed citizens for months with long waiting lines for access to gas and cooking gas. The shortage has been so much that it reached the crematoria.

Venezuelans opted for cremation because they cost about a third of burials, but growing demand has led crematoria to fight for natural gas. There are reports of Venezuelan families in interviews with the Reuters agency, which indicate that they are forced to wait up to 10 days.

"The cost of cremation increased by 108 percent in just one week," said Ana Hernandez, 36, in statements to the agency that is planning a cremation of her sister in a graveyard in the city of Barquisimeto.

So far, ordinary graves have been used mainly in Zulia, where blackouts and gas shortages tend to be more extreme. But decaying services in other states may propagate this practice.

The shortage of wood and metal for coffins and cement for graves complicated traditional burials. Some families expect crematoria to get propane as an alternative. But waiting also raises costs, with annual inflation close to 1 million per cent, according to the agency.

The shortage of medicines, food and commodities has been constant since the collapse of oil prices in 2014 that undermined Venezuela's socialist economy. About 3 million people have emigrated since 2015, according to the United Nations.

President Nicolas Maduro blames an "economic war" led by political opponents with the help of Washington.



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