Smoke Signals from Venezuela


HAVANA TIMES — Today, I am cooking with gas, after more than three months.

Our community got together to organize getting a truck that would be responsible for distributing gas containers and I was lucky enough to get my name down on a list and receive the kind of gas I use.

Well, to tell you the truth it’s the same gas. The only difference being that there are two sales companies and they each have their own packaging. As if it was too hard to keep them all the same, but anyway.

I didn’t spend those months waiting for it to turn up, I had to run from one place to another, waiting in one line after another and nothing, either the truck didn’t come or my name wasn’t on this list (which is the only way some communities have found for people in their area to get gas), or there wasn’t enough… a never-ending number of setbacks which, as a parallel anecdote, includes the story of one of our dogs, who insists on accompanying us and vanished into thin air while we were waiting in one of the first of those sunny lines.

We were quite a way away from home and we don’t understand how we could have lost her from our side; we were looking for her for three days without any luck, until we found her in our backyard on the third day at dawn, happy.

However we still keep asking ourselves how she got lost, how she managed to get home from so far away and how she managed to get into the backyard because it’s surrounded by a high wall. To our great happiness, she did reappear, which is the most important thing, but we were still searching for precious gas three months later.

One day, after having written the article about new ways of working in Venezuela, talking about freelance activities online to earn a bit of money, we lost our internet connection. So, it’s been more than a month since we’ve had our fixed telephone line or the internet. You could say we were incommunicado if it weren’t for our cellphones, which pick up a very weak signal in this area. Yeh, it’s a joke. We were told that it was a motherboard that had mysteriously stopped working not only in our community, but in others nearby and further away. It seems that stealing this specific piece has become a good business opportunity.

Like many of you know, gas is literally thrown out in this country. There are large gas reserves and I have heard that sometimes they need to let it escape to prevent intense explosions. However, gas distribution between communities which don’t have what is known as “street gas” by pipes, has been so chaotic for a while now that roadblocks or some kind of protest have become regular occurrences because distribution trucks don’t appear.

On the other hand, when I arrived in this country in 2010, everyone was delighted because they had launched a satellite into space. I wonder what’s happened to that poor satellite, about how many people would have filled their pockets or what star would have fallen on it because it didn’t work properly, because today, if it did work properly, some of its pieces would surely be stolen to sell off as raw material on a nearby island. This is the fate that has befallen our telephone cables which have left thousands of Venezuelans without this service… and this Cuban who needs the Internet to work.

However, we still have electricity and I can sit down at the computer and write and find a way to send this article from somewhere else. At the rate we’re going though, with the poor salaries people receive, with the most skilled workers constantly emigrating and most companies showing little interest and being poorly managed, especially the electricity company, I might not have electricity soon and will need to learn to communicate via smoke signals. Please, readers, learn this system so I have someone who understands me…


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.

2 thoughts on “Smoke Signals from Venezuela

  • Maybe in Venezuela it would be cheaper to burn Maduro’s currency rather than using gas?

  • I experience getting gas in Cuba what a pain in the ass. Long lines need to show documents like house ownership oh did I mention the lines well I paid off a worker but still took 3 days. And this was in Habana

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