"Jaime Otrupo chanted a solemn prayer then wrenched a chicken’s head from its body, allowing the blood to pump into a ceremonial clay pot as an offering to the gods.
At his feet were the sacrificed corpses of a dove and a chick, both of which were beheaded with a kitchen-knife while his wife and young daughter looked on.
This disturbing ritual, which was filmed by MailOnline in Mr Otrupo’s sitting-room in Caracas, Venezuela, may appear cruel to Western eyes. But to the father-of-five, the traditional healing ceremony was an act of desperation.
Mr Otrupo's seven-year-old daughter, Yansaire, was suffering from leukaemia and the city’s hospitals had run out of cancer drugs. The deliveryman was hoping that the gods could succeed where the Socialist state had failed.
The 43-year-old is one of thousands of Venezuelans turning to black magic in a frantic attempt to treat their ailing loved ones amid growing shortages in the collapsing Left-wing country.
Food queues, hyperinflation and crime have been part of daily life since a fall in global oil prices left its economy on its knees.
Hospital shelves are bare, leaving despairing Venezuelans to beg friends and relatives abroad for drugs. Some even barter for medicine on the internet.
When MailOnline visited the El Algodonal hospital, one of the largest in Caracas, there was no running water or toilet paper, let alone medication.
A five-month-old baby lay wheezing in a dirty cot as there were no drugs for her acute asthma. Her mother, too, was considering propitiating the gods."
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