HAVANA TIMES – A nice thing about “crises” is that they give people suffering them an opportunity to take a step forward and evolve, that is to say, personal growth. Maybe “growth” isn’t the right word. But, people like any objective that implies competition, even if it’s just with themselves.
This crisis in Venezuela has forced people to learn how to separate themselves from their children and family to leave for another country to find work. If we don’t see this as a drama, it’s quite an amazing experience. Especially if we are sure that things will be better in a few years’ time and they will be able to come back with this amazing experience. However, nobody can guarantee this will happen.
Venezuelans have also learned to appreciate trips within their own country a lot more. Now, moving from one state to another is a great feat and a ticket can cost you the same as your monthly wages. They have also learned to find abilities dormant within their bodies.
The days of being inactive have passed, when you would leave your house, walk two blocks and catch a car to the metro stop or the rest of the bus routes. Now, they don’t only walk using the muscles for basic exercise, they are also putting their joints to the test getting on, off or holding on in any truck or vehicle that in the past was used to transport cows, pigs or chemical waste; the important thing is getting to work at some point.
Talking about work, here there was the unhealthy habit of drinking every weekend. On Fridays, people used to meet with their work colleagues at a bar or outside a licor shop, where there was always a sign forbidding alcohol to be consumed on the premises. Who has seen health and wages in check with this addictive habit?! The worst thing is that, after a few beers, the most irresponsible would then go to a chicken shop to prevent a hangover. Chicken?!
People here have learned to appreciate the small things in life. For example, talking about chickens, they now value its early phase a great deal more: the egg. It is so valued that buying a carton of eggs costs you the same as a month of labor at many places. Because this has also undergone an extraordinary transformation: there isn’t anyone, there isn’t a government, there isn’t a single mechanism that makes vendors sell things for the same price.
Luis might sell something for 8,000 bolivars, the business next door sells the same thing for 12,000… or 15,000 or 20,000 bolivars. And, I’m not exaggerating. Clearly, they are the ones who are exaggerating. Because if it’s about personal growth, people also begin to grow in terms of selfishness.
Two days ago, we were waiting for a truck to deliver cooking gas containers in the community. Everything had been arranged properly and the truck was on its way. Two hours later, we were told not to wait for the truck anymore, the community next to us had intercepted it and offered to buy the gas containers for more money and that was that. Time lost for everyone who organized the sale in this neighborhood, for those of us who were waiting to buy; and an act of evolutionary growth for those who had the great idea of bribing the gas vendors.
There have also been plenty of good acts in this crisis. A guy was shot by the FAES (Special Forces) in Caracas and he received support from many people to raise the money he needed to buy an expensive antibiotic; the person who had the medicine received the money via bank transfer, but the man never received his medicine.
Venezuelans seem to be waiting for someone to come and resolve this “crisis”. Now, some of them are betting on Guaido, whose best proposal is military intervention; as if encouraging patriotism right now was a good idea, as if the problem in this country could be resolved with a couple of bags of food for thousands of Venezuelans when there are over 25 million living here.
And, nevertheless, those who don’t support this misgovernment speak about much-needed unity; a blonde woman’s voice opportunely spoke up and said that if elections were held, her husband Leopoldo Lopez would be running as a presidential candidate.
There aren’t many moments of unity around here. Not among the powerful or ordinary citizens. Of course, unity doesn’t have to mean thinking the same thing, having a single party, one way of taking action. But, people in this crisis are terrified, as if a missile has fallen among them.