Venezuelan prisoners are eating rats and pigeons as a means of survival as food supplies continue to dissipate in the failed socialist state, according to a report published this weekend.
El Nuevo Herald reports that a group of prisoners at the Vista Hermosa (Beautiful View) prison in Bolivar state have turned to eating such creatures simply to sustain themselves.
One inmate, 41-year-old Alejandro Manuel Mago Coraspe, was transferred to a nearby hospital last week after falling ill from eating dead rats he found in a prison garbage disposal.
“We cooked them, but they were still raw. We ate them anyway. I think they were poisonous and that’s why I fell ill. I normally kill them myself,” he told the NGO Window to Liberty.
He later had to undergo surgery at the Ruiz y Páez Hospital in Ciudad Bolívar because the rats had caused an obstruction within his intestine.
According to the NGO, the man had been imprisoned for eight months for the theft of a vehicle and is now presenting signs of severe malnutrition and inflammation in both his legs and feet.
The man admitted that he regularly eats rats and other types of rodents, mainly out of “need and hunger,” adding that other inmates also do the same. Previous reports by the Venezuelan Penal Forum also found cases of prisoners being feed “raw pasta with feces.”
The case is another example of the humanitarian crisis currently inflicting Venezuela that has left millions of people starving and is now causing a migration exodus of Biblical proportions.
The crisis is having an even worse effect on the country’s dire prison system, with many facilities now prone to riots, rife with disease, and suffering from acute shortages of space, bedding, food, medicine, and electricity.
In 2016, family members of prisoners in the western state of Táchira, Venezuela, also revealed that authorities did nothing to stop a notorious cannibal, known as the “People Eater,” from killing and eating their relatives.
Political prisoners of the Maduro regime have also testified to the use of torturous methods by prison authorities, which include the use of electroshock, sex crimes, and nude torture.
Increasing numbers of political dissidents are now being incarcerated by the Maduro regime, which is gradually transforming the country into a military dictatorship by upping levels of repression against civilians and dismantling democratic institutions such as the democratically elected national assembly.