New Times in Venezuela


3HAVANA TIMES — The last bit of soap falls from my hands into the sink hole and I say a few curses under my breath, without being in too much of a bad mood, because I’d used the last bit of my annual quota of grief the day before.

In the photo I show you the reason for my exaggerated worry.

These five products (in which I haven’t included about 300 grams of cat food) are the result of 15 days of work. That is to say, with around 8000 Bolivars, all I could buy was a piece of squash, a bag of bread, a kilo of tomatoes, a kilo of guavas and a kilo of strawberries – these are the cheapest fruits they’re selling where I live.

The first fortnightly payment this month, working for the government – a job I got last February – is less than the second fortnightly payment which includes food coupons.  However, since last month, we’re finding it harder and harder to live off of this salary to make at least two meals a day, that is to say, breakfast and dinner.

The big question is how are we going to survive the next 15 days with just these five products, plus half a carton of eggs which we have left over from last month and half a kilo of corn flour which we’ve been saving for weeks now. We’ve also got a kilo of black beans saved up and a couple of pounds of peas which I brought back from Cuba. However, I’m afraid to use them up.

1Obviously, with this level of concern for bare survival, I haven’t included toothpaste, soap and sanitary towels, the last of which I haven’t been able to get a hold of since last year.

Near my work, I’ve started to find people of all ages begging, looking through the garbage and children asking for food. If it’s becoming nearly impossible for two, healthy adults, without children (only a cat) to feed themselves properly, what can old people hope for, whose pension doesn’t include food coupons; and the majority have to spend most of their money, to not say all of it, on medicines that many of them need to take?

The government has announced that there will be an increase in food coupons and, as is to be expected, prices of all food items and basic products continue to increase distressingly, whenever they appear… The government and main opposition parties continue to put on the show that there will be a referendum even though it isn’t convenient for and doesn’t interest either of them. Thousands of public sector employees will soon be cut as a result of having signed in favor of holding a Recall Referendum.

Meanwhile, Maduro insists on paying off the country’s external debt, and refusing medicine donations from abroad to help the Venezuelan people, warning that, in the face of a coup d’etat, he will react a lot harsher than the Turkish President did just now in the face of the recent military coup in Turkey.

And I ask myself, would he consider unarmed people taking to the streets a coup d’etat? Whenever there’s the slightest protest here, the National Guard, Police and militant grassroots “colectivos” groups are sent to repress not only the people, but also and especially reporters.

Meanwhile, I cut a piece of squash into two and my cat watches me from the balcony, wishing weyd give her the freedom to go out and catch little birds.


Caridad: If I had the chance to choose what my next life would be like, I’d like to be water. If I had the chance to eliminate a worst aspect of the world I would erase fear. Of all the human feelings I most like I prefer friendship. I was born in the year of the first Congress of the Cuban Communist Party, the day that Gay Pride is celebrated around the world. I no longer live on the east side of Havana; I’m trying to make a go of it in Caracas, and I continue to defend my right to do what I want and not what society expects of me.

6 thoughts on “New Times in Venezuela

  • The BBC reported today Tuesday 30th August that Nicholas Maduro announced that any opposition politicians supporting the demonstration due on Thursday 1st September could be arrested. The protest is expected to be the largest for over a year in that benighted country.
    The typical socialist response from Maduro is to threaten – he is a natural bully boy.

  • The ‘middle path’ in Venezuela which you describe with admiration George as the work of Hugo Chavez and Nicolai Maduro has led to a cliff edge with the people of Venezuela being the lemmings.

  • “An honest account of the crisis must include both of these aspects: the government’s costly errors, and the destabilizing actions of the opposition and US government. To ignore one or the other is to misrepresent reality and perpetuate false all-or-nothing narratives that blame the crisis, in its entirety, on either “socialism” or the “Empire.” Such narratives may comfort those seeking affirmation for preconceived notions, but they will not aid those seeking to know why Venezuela is in crisis and how it might get out of it.”

  • “There was no serious critique of the Venezuelan economy, which is fundamentally a rentier economy based on oil. A small group of very wealthy families have dominated Venezuela for the last century, and they did a remarkably good job of insulating themselves from the Bolivarian Revolution. Some of their property was nationalized, but for the most part it was the assets of foreign investors that were targeted. That social layer is so dominant that you either have to reach an accommodation with them or else nationalize—you can’t take a middle path, which is what Chávez and later Maduro effectively did.”

  • Socialism has destroyed Venezuela.
    Beware Maduro’s warning: when he mentions the foreign debt, he is working to stoke resentment among the people. He plans to stop paying the foreign debt soon, as he knows this act will isolate Venezuela even further. The coup will follow shortly after that, not from the people, but from the radical wing of the ruling party, dragging Venezuela further down the rate hole of Marxist insanity.

    Carded: If you possibly can, get out now. Your situation is not going to get better soon. It’s more likely to get much worse.

  • All of this a consequence of Hugo Chavez studying at the knee of Fidel Castro Ruz. Maduro is merely following the same system, but could find time to fly to Cuba to celebrate Fidel’s 90th birthday. His previous visit was on March 15, when Raul Castro pinned the ‘Jose Marti medal’ on his ever expanding girth prior to a pilgrimage to visit Fidel in Siboney. Evidently Venezuela can find enough fuel for the Presidential jet.

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