MIAMI-DADE, Fla. – Venezuelans were expressing outrage on social media after the death of an eight-year-old boy who has become a symbol of the dire economic crisis in the oil-rich country.
Oliver Sanchez, a second-grade student, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a blood cancer. His mom said doctors interrupted his treatment, because of a shortage of medications.
He died on Tuesday and the wave of outrage made it all the way to South Florida on Thursday, as his funeral was being held. His family was in mourning in Mamporal, according to Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional. They weren't alone in their pain.
"I cried and cried," Macarena Suarez, who has never met the boy or his family, said in Spanish. "I'm a mom and can't imagine feeling that powerless. My grandmother is sick. We send what we can."
Suarez, who lives in Miami-Dade County's Doral neighborhood, remembers Oliver from images of a protest in Caracas, Feb. 26. He was part of a group that included doctors, nurses, medical students and other patients, who were outraged after Dr. Jose Diaz died. They blamed it on a lack of antibiotics.
Many Venezuelans who were blaming President Nicolas Maduro's economic policies for the shortages were also blaming him for Oliver's death on Thursday.
"One of our boys died begging for medical help, while millions are being spent on threatening military exercises," attorney Blanca Rosa Marmol said on Twitter Thursday.
More reaction in English and Spanish:
No voy a decirle a #OlíverSánchez "Que En Paz Descanse"...— Julio Jiménez Gédler (@Juliococo) May 26, 2016
Descansará cuando hagamos el cambio y haya justicia.
ELNIÑO #OliverSanchez fue asesinado xlas +profundas miserias d esta revolución y nuestra pasividad.¡Todos somos culpables xacción u omisión!— Agustin Blanco Muñoz (@ablancomunoz) May 26, 2016
Oliver went viral when he was pleading for medicine in Venezuela. Now he is viral because death reached him first https://t.co/0xrUHvuV6d— Óscar Schlenker (@oschlenkernews) May 26, 2016
Destrozado por el caso de la muerte del niño Oliver Sánchez (y tantos otros) por falta de medicinas en Venezuela: pic.twitter.com/in0xcUmI5e— Pedro Luis Flores (@pedroluisflores) May 26, 2016
Cómo si no hubiese sido suficiente duro tener que luchar contra el cáncer, Oliver tuvo que enfrentar a la pandilla de desalmados del régimen— Ibéyise Pacheco (@ibepacheco) May 26, 2016