By Anthony Faiola | Washington Post

CARACAS, Venezuela – “Would you like to see the little ones?” asked Magdelis Salazar, a social worker, beckoning me toward a crowded playground.

We were at Venezuela’s largest orphanage, just after lunch. The yard was an obstacle course of abandoned children. A little chunk of a boy, on the cusp of 3, sat on a play scooter. He was called El Gordo – the fat one. But when he was left here a few months ago, he was skin and bones.

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He zoomed past a 3-year-old in a pink shirt with tiny flowers. “She doesn’t talk much,” one of the attendants said, tousling the girl’s curly hair. At least, not anymore. In September, her mother left her at a subway station with a bag of clothes and a note begging someone to feed the child.

Poverty and hunger rates are soaring as Venezuela’s economic crisis leaves store shelves empty of food, medicine, diapers and baby formula. Some parents can no longer bear it. They are doing the unthinkable.

Giving up their children.

“People can’t find food,” Salazar told me. “They can’t feed their children. They are giving them up not because they don’t love them but because they do.”

Ahead of my recent reporting trip to Venezuela, I’d heard that families were abandoning or surrendering children. Yet it was a challenge to actually meet the tiniest victims of this broken nation. My requests to enter orphanages run by the socialist government had gone unanswered. One child-protection official – warning of devastating conditions, including a lack of diapers – confided that such a visit would be “impossible.” Some privately run child crisis centers worried that granting …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Health

      

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