Venezuelans faced with the socialist nation’s regular shortages of basic necessities now have a new item to add to the list: coffins.
“If you’re an undertaker you have to guarantee funerals happen, even if that means going wherever you have to go to borrow a coffin,” said Miriam Castro, administrator at a Caracas funeral home in the El Paraiso (Paradise) district, Retuers reported Monday.
Undertakers are in such a dire situation due to shortages of materials like brass, varnish and satin that they are encouraging families to “recycle” coffins by using them only for a wake and then opting to cremate their deceased family member.
Ricardo Guedez, the country’s former president of the National Chamber for Funeral Companies, told Reuters that coffin production has dropped off nearly 50 percent because manufactures can not import the necessary materials or obtain U.S. dollars due to currency controls.
“Like anything in this country, we can’t get hold of them,” Jose Montes, the head of a funeral home in Catia, told the news service. At the time of his interview with Reuters he needed to obtain 30 coffins, but possessed only ten.