Venezuelan women selling their hair to buy groceries across the border

The humiliations Venezuelans have to endure under the shameful mismanagement of the socialist government seem to have no end. Thanks to the desperation for food and the high rate of inflation, women in Venezuela are now reduced to selling their hair to earn enough to buy something to eat. Reuters reports “draggers” working for Salons just across the border in Colombia have become a common sight:

The trend, which has taken off in recent weeks, is another sign of the oil-rich country’s deepening crisis amid shortages and spiraling inflation that have millions skipping meals and forgoing costly medical treatment.

Dozens of middlemen, known as “draggers,” stand on a bridge linking San Antonio, Venezuela, to Colombia’s La Parada, calling out: “We buy hair!”

Some 200 women a day are taking up their offer at one of seven makeshift stands dotting La Parada, according to estimates from five middlemen. The locks are then sold as extensions in the western Colombian city of Cali.

A 45-year-old woman named Cecilia Gonzalez decided to sell her hair to make the equivalent of $20 so she could buy painkillers for her arthritis. But others are simply trying to feed their hungry children. Jennifer Nino who works as a “dragger” cutting hair tells Reuters, “Most of the women come here with little kids and after cutting their hair they go buy food.”

Last month Al Jazeera put together a video report about the “draggers” and the other small signs of economic activity that have sprung up around the cross-border traffic. The woman at the end of this report is selling chocolate on the street to make a little money for her family. She tells Al Jazeera that she hopes President Maduro and the opposition party can come together and find a solution for Venezuela’s problems. Maybe she’s holding back because of the camera. Certainly President Maduro is not very popular right now so it wouldn’t be hard to find someone who blames him for the economic mess.

These problems are not going to be solved by both sides coming together. They are only going to be solved by removing the socialist government from power. The opposition party has spent months on a legal effort to put Maduro’s leadership up for a vote but the socialists have blocked those efforts at every turn. With hyperinflation taking hold it may not be long before Venezuelans see a change of government as a life or death question. You can’t sell your hair to pay for groceries every week.