Few countries are as beauty-obsessed as Venezuela. Last year, there were more than 85,000 boob jobs in the South American country, but a prolonged economic crisis has provoked a shortage of breast implants.
Most implants are imported by local businesses and purchased by Venezuelan doctors. However, currency controls put in place by the Venezuelan government’ have made it extremely difficult for these businesses to find the cash to buy top-quality breast implants, which can cost around $600.
The shortage has caused desperate women to look for other options, with some even searching on a local version of Craigslist. In many cases, women who have been saving up for an operation are either forced to use a different size or quality of implant, or put their operation on hold.
Filling the void are mostly Chinese implants made with less rigorous standards. Many Venezuelan doctors say they are reluctant to use them.
The late President Hugo Chavez criticized the boob-job fixation and once fumed on state television that the obsession was “monstrous.” The reaction on social media has so far been mixed. But some say this “crisis” may help some Venezuelans reconsider what it means to be beautiful.