After Nearly 2 Months of Respite, Renewed Chaos in Venezuela
HAVANA TIMES – Even though you might not believe it, up until a couple weeks ago products like cheese, eggs, meat and corn flour had not only not gone up in price but were even some two or three thousand bolivars cheaper. We could finally breathe a little. Blackouts were also less frequent for about six weeks, at least in the suburbs, where we have been suffering power cuts for over 6 hours every day since March.
The rest of the chaos continued, silently, but increasingly. I was even able to put on a couple of kilos after fighting so long for my trousers not to fall down when I was out and about. Now let’s see how I’m able to keep these extra couple of kilos on my body…
The country has gradually become dollarized. After the government was honest with itself about the price of the dollar, and wiped out the Cadivi dollar (at a subsidized rate, and to many “connected” people’s dismay), which has filled their own and their nearest and dearests’ pockets; dollarization of the Venezuelan economy became a fact. The official and black-market dollar rates have shot up in value again, after a long period when it barely varied in price with the Bolivar.
Printed with a new value exactly a year ago, Bolivar notes are now in disuse because of great inflation. If we had reached the point of absolute madness a year ago, paying millions for a food item, then we aren’t far off from that today either. You now need at least a million Bolivars to feed a family of four for a month, and I’m not including medicines or school equipment, or rent or services bills.
Talking about services, electricity (which people barely know anymore in some places) bills aren’t being sent out anymore. That’s to say, the offices where you had to go and pay this service have closed down. There’s word that they are preparing new rates, but nobody can be sure of anything right now. Misinformation is searching for respect. I don’t know whether the company has been sold off to another country at this point or whether they are planning to charge this and other services in dollars, or the equivalent.
Anyway, this is how things have been recently. We already know that many officials receive their wages in this currency, who are now trying to sell their homes or cars and asking to be paid in dollars. The same thing has been happening with professionals who provide different services.
In my opinion, the next four months of 2019 will be key in determining Venezuela’s future. While everyone is trying to get by as best they can, the government is selling, giving or handing over the natural resources the country still has in exchange for its debts. The main political figures in the ring right now are slyly fighting for power or for the opportunity to be the first one to negotiate with Trump.
Shelves are full of food. Yep, we have those carbohydrates that we could barely find two years ago; but their price is becoming more and more unaffordable for those who don’t have a relative to send them remittances in dollars. The National Guard continues with its abuse of power and serving as its generals’ front men. Protests, no matter how small or insignificant they may be, are being cruelly repressed.
It would seem that nothing has been happening in these past couple months. However, I think that this is the tip of the iceberg that the whole world has been waiting for. I just hope that the transition isn’t carried out by the same people who were involved in Maduro’s misgovernment.
9 thoughts on “After Nearly 2 Months of Respite, Renewed Chaos in Venezuela”
Venezuela put itself in the misery club with foolish Marxist policies and mass corruption by a now corrupt dictatorship that according to UN uses death squads against it’s own population.
Your comment Pera reflects democracy, for under that system the views of others than just oneself are entitled to consideration. You are fortunate to live in Canada where you can openly express your views about elected politicians. Ones own individual interests do not necessarily reflect those of the electorate – and in the democracies we all have to live with that. You can vote according to your values. Has your progression from Yugoslavia to the US to Canada been worthwhile? Are the values better?
I live in Canada now and am extremely proud to vote for a guy who represents his party and does what his party leaders tell him and COMPLETELY ignores my interests. While pushing the agenda of the big money. At least, as a consolation, I have access to reasonably priced health care, which I did not have while I was living in the USA. It’s always a trade off, apparently…
If Pera your preference is for totalitarian rule, then I offer my pity. True humanity is about being able to live in freedom, being able to openly express opinion, being able to move without permit, being able to raise children as you choose. In our current world, those options are only available in the capitalist democracies. Capitalism most certainly has its faults and the democracies offer variations of structure – I personally prefer that of the parliamentary ones, for as Churchill pointed out, that system despite its faults is preferable to the alternatives.
Whether others existing under totalitarian rule should have options – and if so how, is a matter of opinion. Should people have political choice and the opportunity to express it?
Just think twice before making strong opinions about forcing western democracy elsewhere. There are millions of people worldwide still suffering the consequences, much more than a minority that had benefited from it.
There is no perfect answer Pera!
The beneficial effects of bombings and NATO and US interventions are still cherished worldwide. It is just a thad more beneficial than the sanctions and economic pressures. You can inquire among regular people that suffered – the newly instituted elites will definitely be in favour of your noble views.
One can only sympathize with individuals who suffered the barbarism that was practiced by the various factions in former Yugoslavia. Tito to his credit, managed to keep a lid on the smoldering ethnic hatreds following the killing of Michalovic. The war crime trials at the Hague revealed only a small percentage of the hideous offences. But for NATO intervention, the Serbs, Croations, Bosnians etc, would still be slaughtering each other. The hatred between so-called ethnic groups was awful to behold – the merciless shooting of women and children endeavoring to cross the street, the rounding-up of Muslim men to be slaughtered by the thousand, Not much wonder that people fled.
But the Venezuelan mess is a consequence of different causes. The strife is a consequence of political differences with Nicholas Maduro in pursuit of Castro communist policies, destroying his country’s economy, not of ethnic hatred.
This is exactly my experience from the 90s, when they were destroying my country, Yugoslavia. Ended up with a bloody civil war, seven small and hopeless countries with no sovereignty and millions of people emigrating… still thousands leaving daily, every capable and ambitious young man and woman trying to do so as well. Welcome to the Misery Club, Venezuela!
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