Things are so bad in Venezuela that people are trading music for medicine

Things in Venezuela are bad. The place in run by a dictator who has driven the economy into the ground to the point where the inflation rate is 1,000,000%. Tourism has dried up. Many international airlines will no longer fly into Caracas. Despite having the world’s largest proven oil reserves, the petroleum industry has collapsed. There are chronic shortages of food. There are riots, crime, and brutal crackdowns.

Then there’s the matter of health care. Most pharmacies have run out of supplies for all manner of medicine. If you need your medication, you’re reduced to looking for it on the black market where you might have to pay up to 3,000% more.

There is a small glimmer of help. A new organization, Music for Medicine (MúsicaXMedicinas), is a non-profit based in Caracas. Launched by a group of human rights activists, people are being encouraged to donated medicine in exchange for music.

It works on a points system. For example, an over-the-counter painkiller is worth one point. Got some antibiotics? That’s three points. And if you have something really expensive (say, a cancer drug of some sort), that’s five points.

Once you amass a certain number of points, you can choose from a library of over 2,000 CDs and vinyl records.

There’s also an album on Bandcamp featuring some prominent Venezuelan musicians. Proceeds will go to MúsicaXMedicinas.

More at Digitial Music News.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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