Selasa, 03 Maret 2020

Gosh! Economic Crisis Makes Women in Venezuela 'Throw' Their Babies

Caracas -"Throwing a baby is prohibited," reads the message in a message made by Eric Mejicano.
The Venezuelan artist posted the sign on the walls of the Venezuelan city after a newborn baby was found in a rubbish bin in his apartment block in the country's capital, Caracas.

Gosh! Economic Crisis Makes Women in Venezuela 'Throw' Their Babies

Mejicano said that he launched the campaign to warn people of the facts in Venezuela, that "things turn into habits that should not be considered normal".

The country's economy is in a free fall and a third of Venezuela's population struggles to meet food needs, according to research conducted by the UN food organization.

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With contraception that is increasingly difficult to obtain, unwanted pregnancy becomes common. Meanwhile, abortion laws in the country only allow abortion if the life of the mother is in danger.

During the economic crisis, one agency said in 2018 there was a 70% increase in the number of babies abandoned on the streets or left in front of the entrance of public buildings.

The Venezuelan government has not released official figures on the number of abandoned babies in recent years.

The Ministry of Communications or the government agency that deals with children's rights did not respond to requests for response to this case.

However, social services and health workers confirm that there is indeed an increase in the number of children being abandoned, as is the number of babies given for adoption.

Gosh! Economic Crisis Makes Women in Venezuela 'Throw' Their Babies

With contraception becoming increasingly difficult to obtain, unwanted pregnancies are becoming commonplace (BBC)

Nelson Villasmill is a member of a child protection agency in one of the poorest areas in Caracas.

He explained that faced with a poor adoption system, sometimes despairing parents cut corners.

The story of baby Toms (not his real name) is one example of a case.

She was born to a mother who lived in poverty in Caracas, and felt she would not be able to care for her child.

The midwife who helped in the birth of Toms was willing to lend a helping hand.

He said this was not the first time he had met a mother who felt unable to raise her child.

"They almost always change their minds since the first time they breastfeed their children," he explained.

Children eat lunch at Madre Asuncion's community kitchen on October 9, 2019 in Petare, Caracas, Venezuela.

In 2018 there was a 70% increase in the number of babies abandoned on the streets (Getty Images)

"But sometimes that's not the main problem, then you can't help but have to find a solution."

He contacted one of his patients. The woman is in her 40s and longs to have children. However, Tania (not her real name) cannot get pregnant.

Tania wants to help Toms and her mother, but after a long thought she decides not to take it.

He instead contacted another couple who was his friend, who agreed to treat Toms like his biological child in their home on the outskirts of Venezuela.

They had to register the baby so as not to arouse suspicion, so Tania paid US $ 250, or around Rp3.5 million, to bribe officials and enter her friend's name as Toms biological mother.

Toms is now being cared for by his friends in the countryside and his new family just celebrated Toms's first steps.

Tania said he did not regret his actions and insisted that the short cut he took was for the good of Toms.

"I never thought I would do this before, but official adoption does not work in Venezuela and children will experience difficulties at the orphanage," he explained.

Toms were handed over to adoptive parents with the consent of their mothers, but not a few people who exploit desperate Venezuelan women.

When she was pregnant with her second child, Isabel's husband (not her real name) passed away, making her have to give up her child who was about to be born to be adopted.

"I am alone and am afraid I will not be able to feed my child," he said.

Following the advice of his acquaintance, he flew to the island of Trinidad in the Caribbean to meet a couple who was interested in adopting his child.

He was told that he would hear the decision on the matter, but soon found himself under pressure from the Colombian woman who organized the meeting.

But one time in Trinidad, "I realized that I had been trapped in a network of people smugglers".

"I'm always watched," he recalls.

Isabel said that she was not allowed to leave the house where she lived and that the return ticket for the flight that she promised would take her back to Venezuela never materialized.

A few weeks later she gave birth prematurely at a hospital in Trinidad.

He decided to look after the baby but was immediately pressured by a Colombian woman and a man claiming to be a lawyer.

"They told me that new parents were waiting in the parking lot and that I had to sign some documents in English that I did not understand and handed over my baby."

At first Isabel refused, but during the following weeks, the kidnappers increased the pressure, took her food, medicine and diapers.

"In the end, I had to give up my son to save his life and for me to return to Venezuela to get help," he said tearfully.

With the help of a non-governmental organization, Isabel is now starting a legal battle to return her son who is under the guardianship of the authorities in Trinidad.

At present, he is only allowed to see him once a week.

He said he would not give up until he met him again.