Venezuela’s “Black Mirror” and Millionaires


HAVANA TIMES — I don’t really follow TV series, on Netflix or anywhere else, but Black Mirror (a British sci-fi TV series) has been one of the most interesting ones I’ve seen in recent years.

I don’t know if it has any more than the 4 or 5 seasons I’ve seen, but it’s worth our while to think about the science fiction’s age old dilemma: humanity vs. technology. During these times of technological advances, I can’t really be sure that this is a science fiction series but I am sure that I feel like one of the characters in Black Mirror recently. And I believe many Venezuelans will feel the same way today.

Characters in Black Mirror live in a kind of absurd world which the indiscriminate (sometimes beneficial) use of technology has created. 

I couldn’t give you an exact figure, but there are currently a large percentage of Venezuelans, especially young people, who are getting by with Internet work. It’s ironic, they earn millions of bolivars for small jobs online.

There’s no way for an average person’s salary to be enough for them to eat a week. People are having to invent, going back to small businesses such as mending shoes or selling used clothes or clothes made at home; but earning in dollars is what really helps them.

Having family outside of Cuba, who send at least 20 USD per month; or working online, are the most common ways of getting dollars. Bearing in mind the fact that a dollar is being exchanged today for over 500,000 Bolivars, and that minimum monthly wage is around 2 or 3 USD, and that half of this salary can just cover your transport to and from work, it’s much better to stay at home and wait for dollars from your family or work from your computer to make 2 or 3 dollars per week, sometimes much more, depending on the website.

However, cents earned from the comfort of your own home are worth much more than a couple of hundred bolivars which will vanish from your hands as soon as you buy two or three basic products.

Many young and not-so-young people have left Venezuela. I’m still here and I’m also sniffing around the Internet, fearful of the moment when the government finds a way to take their own cut from this budding form of making a living; fearful that this form of labor will end up enslaving up us just as much or more than more traditional jobs, in the same way people have become emotional slaves to social media.

In the meantime, I continue to do the absurd dance for a couple of million which lose more and more value every minute that passes by.