When I met Marisela Méndez in San Cristóbal, Venezuela, not far from the country’s border with Colombia, she showed me her palm. More than seven hours earlier, someone had scrawled “1,296” on it in black marker, to note her position in line at Garzón, a major supermarket. The line stretched for hundreds of metres against a fence on the outskirts of the city. “I heard they have flour and milk,” Méndez, who is forty-one years old, told me. “It’s been a while since I had those.” The mountains of the Venezuelan Andes were a little too far in the distance to shield her from the hot afternoon sun.
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