The ongoing political crisis in Venezuela has resulted in shortages in nearly everything, from medical supplies to food. While millions have fled the country, those who remain — and have the means to do so — often take advantage of the diaspora to import both essentials and luxuries, often using commercial carriers like FedEx and Amazon Prime.
Cao Sanchez, a photographer based in Caracas, Venezuela, examines this process in a new photo series looking at the black-market goods flowing into Venezuela. When searching for subjects through social media and referrals, Sanchez found that it was usually women making the final decision on what to buy and how to get it into the country.
The practice shows no sign of letting up as the crisis continues — the internal production of food and medicines is severely limited and hard cash is in short supply. Inflation hit 1.3 million percent this year, and the economy has essentially become reliant on dollars instead of the local currency, bolivares. The few goods that do infrequently appear in Caracas are now too expensive for most people to purchase, so his subjects find it “wiser to buy them in the USA and ship them to Venezuela in a box,” Sanchez says.