One week, the administration declared that eggs would now be sold for no more than 30 cents a carton. The next week, eggs had disappeared from supermarkets, and still have not come back.
In the early days, the shortages seemed almost whimsical. My Venezuelan friends were used to going on Miami shopping sprees. When I made trips home, they asked me to bring back perfume, leather jackets, iPhones and condoms. I usually took two near-empty suitcases to carry back the requests, plus food and toiletries for myself. As the crisis deepened, the requests became harder to fill, and traced the outlines of darker personal dramas: Medication for heart failure. Paediatric epilepsy drugs. Pills to trigger an abortion. Gas masks.
And things were still somehow getting worse. The first time I saw people line up outside the bakery near my apartment, I stopped to take photos. How crazy: A literal bread line. Then true hunger crept into where I lived. People started digging through the trash at all hours, pulling out vegetable peelings and soggy pizza crusts and eating them on the spot. That seemed like rock bottom. Until my local bakery started organising lines each morning, not to buy bread, but to eat trash.