While socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro continues to crack down on any remaining semblance of freedom in Venezuela, the people he often talks about helping are doing whatever they can to stay alive. Today the Guardian reports on the young girls who have turned to prostitution to avoid starvation:

As night falls over Caracas, and most of the city’s residents lock their doors against its ever more violent streets, Adriana Velásquez gets ready for work, heading out into an uncertain darkness as she has done since hunger forced her into the only job she could find at 14.

She was introduced to her brothel madam by a friend more than two years ago after her mother, a single parent, was fired and the two ran out of food. “It was really hard, but we were going to bed without eating,” said the teenager, whose name has been changed to protect her.

Since then Venezuela’s crisis has deepened, the number of women working at the brothel has doubled, and their ages have dropped. “I was the youngest when I started. Now there are girls who are 12 or 13. Almost all of us are there because of the crisis, because of hunger.”

As horrible to contemplate as this is, there are many younger children who simply starve. About half of children in Venezuela now show signs of malnourishment and 12% suffer from acute malnourishment. Meanwhile, the socialist government which is creating this nightmare is now describing hunger as a form of patriotism:

Former foreign minister and top aide Delcy Rodríguez has denied the country has a food crisis, denouncing the “blackmail of hunger”. She told the new legislative super-body she heads: “In Venezuela there is no hunger, there is willpower. There is indignation and courage to defend Venezuela.”

And to make sure the people don’t get any ideas about alternatives to socialism, the government is cracking down on what little freedom of the press remains:

Authorities have shut down two radio stations that aired critical coverage of President Nicolas Maduro’s government by refusing to renew their licenses, a broadcast executive announced, as the country staged military exercises in defiance of Washington and new U.S. sanctions…

The closures came less than 48 hours after the commission ordered cable providers to remove the signal of Colombian TV stations Caracol and RCN. Maduro had sharply criticized foreign news coverage of the country and its months-long political crisis.

In Venezuela, the suffering of millions of people is not taken as a sign that socialism is a failure which needs to be abandoned, but an opportunity for everyone to suffer for the cause. Ultimately, the starving infants and 12-year-old prostitutes don’t really matter so long as the revolution survives. This is Venezuela. This is socialism. This is evil.