Sunday, June 05, 2016

Scenes of a bitter return

Warning: absolutely non politically correct post follows (á la Trump?)
But real.

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I am coming up from the airport.  Reaching the curb from a grocery store not too far away from home I notice the food line that reaches a crossing that it never reached before. Think 6 blocks.

Since there is traffic I can observe the line. Not only these people are not from the area, but they look like goons and thugs. They are, to tell you the truth, scary. I grab the camera to film but the light goes green.

Down the hill I arrive at the store. No line there. There are plenty of cops and the line has been in fact pushed back by them two blocks away. Which explains why I found it so long. The explanation? There was a looting attempt by people who come from far away from the neighborhood.

I suppose it is just a matter of time the locals decide to loot first least these "bachaqueros" take all of their food quota first?

Welcome home Kotter.

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In my first few days at home I notice a dramatic change. There are now lines ALWAYS at any of the grocery stores of the area. Whether things arrive is irrelevant, there is a crowd, always the same type of crowd from some far starved/bachaquero lumpen that have put the area under siege. They leave around 5 PM so they can make it back to their homes before night fall.

After all, they are equally victims of crime, the more so if they back home in the dark with some food.

Oh, and yes!  These unfortunate people look as wretched, as lumpen as they looked 17 years ago when Chavez was elected. There you go with your XXI century socialism.

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My cleaning lady is upset and scared, and near tears when she tells me the stories.

In the past three weeks the area has become very unsafe in day time. People that walk the streets are now getting mugged broad daylight. And she has more trouble than ever to get food.  Why?

The invasion of bachaqueros in the area follows a clear modus operandi.

They arrive in "busetas", those worn down mini vans or mini bus that can carry up to 20 people, more if necessary... These unload the bachaqueros in front of a given store. The group arrives and breaks to the front of the line threatening as needed the locals, who terrified give them sway, the more so when home made weaponry is shown (chuzos like those made in Venezuelan jails). Sometimes more busetas arrive when from some magical knowledge they learn that this particular store will get more supplies than usual. There is indeed deep internal corruption links with some of the employees of these grocery stores. They get their cut of the loot.

Remember that what bachaqueros buy is for resale at bloated prices. That is their job, stand in line every day and find more than what they need so as to make their income out of black market prices. there are no other jobs available for them in chavista Venezuela.

So you may have different groups of bachaqueros holding the line (there are inter bachaquero fights reported by the locals who flee the scene). But all within a group need not to stand in line. After all with an SMS they can quickly come back as soon as a delivery truck is spotted. So what do these do? They scour the neighborhood to track down solitary walkers, isolated cars, and the like. Crime rises. No way around it since the scarce cops that Baruta town hall can afford as budgets shrink are not enough to keep order at the front of the line.

My cleaning lady tells me that know she leaves at 4AM to get on line in the vain hope sometimes that she will beat the bachaqueros. And sometimes, if she got significant stuff she is forced to take a cab back home. A cab, needless to say, that is a heavy burden on her budget.

Poor people stealing from poor people since people like me either do not consume much of the basic price controlled staples (starch/oil) or can afford black market (up to a point that is).

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So a few days ago I am having lunch at the fast food court of the Tolon mall with somebody visiting and that wants to know more about Venezuela.

I am having a chicken sandwich and yuca breaded sticks (no potatoes so manioc will do, quite well actually). Yes, food courts are still reasonably supplied. They are expensive and less people can afford them. Thus if you can afford, the supply exists for the privileged still hanging on......

The food court is on the top of the mall and yet now beggarly characters do manage to get up there (mall budgets cannot afford guards as they should, nor do the guards would care or be able to do much about it anyway).

One comes to our table and asks money for food. Annoyed at the interruption and out of cash I try to wave him away. He points out to my yuca sticks and ask for one. Without thinking about it I grab one with my fingers and handle it to him. He picks it and goes away eating it.

This is how damaged we have all become after 17 years, all, including myself.

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Last Friday there were the first food riots about 4 blocks from Miraflores Palace as the regime has decided to grab the increasingly scarcer controlled items and to reserve them to their followers. Exclusively, through the already infamous CLAP, the new violent sect being bred to enforce a political apartheid in Venezuela. Holomodor is it already called on the net.

I may be damaged, but clearly the regime holders are now beyond any redemption.

22 comments:

  1. For real emergencies only: take a 14 cm steel bar, wrap a newspaper around it, secure it with 2,3 rubber bands. The thing works because they think you are using a newspaper and fail to dodge. The newspaper cushions the blow, so it doesn't break any bones. I only used it once, but it worked fine. But it's better to run if you can. This is only an extreme self defense device.

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  2. Boludo Tejano4:10 PM

    I have read of occasional cases of criminals- and people incorrectly thought to be criminals- being lynched. I wonder if the future will bring cases of out-of-town bachaqueros also being lynched for appropriating local food- and of their busetas being torched.

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  3. Middle class people are hungry....poor people often eat just ketchup and rice, or arepas without butter.People are afraid to go anywhere.People are dying and getting sick.

    The gates to Hell are right there in Venezuela.It is hard to wrap my mind around it.

    firepigette

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  4. woww... thanks for the street report. I still don't get how millions of people get by with a 12$/month minimum salaries. And with 5-8 kids at the rancho. That's why they engage in bachaquero wars, smuggling items, if they don't engage in outright pilferage and thievery (which a lot of "el pueblo" do).

    These "socialist" criminal regimes, Castro-Chavista model, practically force the people into theft, and complicity. They are employed by the millions by the corrupt regime, in countless "ministries", so they can join the party, not work, and steal too. It's part of the plan. To corrupt the average pueblo people too. Involve them in the Guisos. So they are hooked into the putrid system. And complicit. Accusable. You point a finger at some politician? Well you get accused as well, with proof of your own culpability and thievery. Bribes everywhere. Favors, fake deals, fake jobs, fake nominas.

    That's how Chavismo has stayed in power for almost 18 years, amid a catastrophic economic crisis. By recruiting the complicity of millions and millions of "pueblo" people. Que se chupen su mandarina.

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    Replies
    1. Paragraph 2...... Agreed...

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    2. Paragraph 2...... Agreed...

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  5. A sad scene upon your return Daniel. I trust you got the meds you needed for your SO, and he is doing well.

    As you predicted things were going to get worse, and they have. How many more people in to die in VZ before the people revolt? Who know, my prayers are with you and your SO.

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    Replies
    1. Even if they do revolt, the replacement might not be an improvement.

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  6. Thank you for so honestly, vividly describing the hellish circumstances of so many Venezuelans. I have many friends here in the US who still think of Chavez and Maduro as heroes of the people helping feed the poor and heal the sick. Your courageous reportage helps contradict such sick illusions. Bravo to you.

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    Replies
    1. Boludo Tejano2:32 PM

      I have many friends here in the US who still think of Chavez and Maduro as heroes of the people helping feed the poor and heal the sick.

      They must not have been doing much reading on Venezuela news in the last year, unless they stuck to Venezuelanalysis.

      Delete
    2. Boludo Tejano5:13 PM

      Or they had been reading only the likes of The Nation or Counterpunch, or getting a steady diet of Professor Ciccariello-Maher's tweets.

      There have certainly been enough US mainstream media articles critical of Maduro and Chavez.

      Delete
    3. And more than half of the populace still venerates and adores Chavez Today. That's how ignorant they are.

      Delete
  7. sounds like the Bernie Sanders supporters going after Hillary's supporters ...
    geez , what is this world coming to ?!?!!?

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  8. It was reported today that enough signatures have been collected to call for the referendum on Maduro!

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  9. This whole recall referendum is such a waste, seems to be Capriles paid off by the regime. Will by them well into next year and yield zero result.

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  10. The CLAPs are being criticized for using their powers (granted to them by Maduro through a State of Exception decree of May 13th) to discriminate against government critics, refusing to sell them food. The truth is that, even with all of the government defending them, the CLAP have failed to end Venezuela’s acute food shortages. Food lines are longer and there is more looting and violence surrounding the lines.

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  11. ON THURSDAY: CARACAS -- A tentative dialogue between the embattled government of Nicolas Maduro and the Venezuelan opposition never got off the ground, as now both parties seem to be on the warpath.

    THE LOPEZ FACTOR: “UNGRATEFUL MORON OF THE YEAR"

    On Tuesday Maduro had even more insulting things to say about jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, who he suggests played a decisive role in the break-up of the “dialogue table” from the jail cell where he has been for over 2 years, serving a 14 year sentence for "subliminally" inciting violence.

    “Leopoldo Lopez is the ungrateful moron of the year. Yes, he won that prize,” Maduro said, and he repeated the phrase “ungrateful moron” several times. Lopez, who has been jailed since February of 2014, is a Harvard graduate.

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  12. CNE’s Lucena Sets Up Booby-Trapped Venezuela Recall

    CARACAS -- Venezuela’s CNE electoral authority said Friday that the recall vote against President Nicolas Maduro can move forward to the next stage, as it had received nearly seven times the amount of signatures needed to proceed.

    However, the process is booby-trapped, marred by conditions that will be difficult to meet, the opposition said.

    Making it hard for Venezuelans to express themselves through a recall is probably the last thing the oil-rich country needs, as violence is surging, with a world-record murder rate of 28,000 homicides a year and some three incidents of looting everyday, according to local NGO’s.

    There has been an increase in protests over food shortages of 320% year on year, according to OVCS, one of the NGO’s. The protests have been “popular (meaning, in low-income areas), massive and spontaneous”, OVCS said in its May report.

    After a delay of more than 45 days, the CNE said it had received almost 1.4 million valid signatures asking for Maduro to be recalled, in a move promoted by the MUD opposition umbrella organization.

    Only 195,000 valid signatures were necessary.

    Now, proponents of the recall who signed must go in person to validation points in all 24 state capitals, with their valid Venezuelan ID’s, to have their fingerprints scanned publicly, like your correspondent, from June 20th to the 24th.

    However, it will not be easy to validate every last signature and the CNE is not making it easy for the opposition: One validation point per state means that the CNE office in Miranda will have to process 173,000 proponents in just four days, seven hours a day. That comes to 6,000 signatures verified every hour or 100 per minute -- a near impossibility.

    Also, because their are just one verification center in each state, recall proponents who signed in the goldmines of El Callao, for instance, need to travel hundreds of kilometers to Ciudad Bolívar in order to validate their signatures.

    Also, CNE head Tibisay Lucena said that “any act of violence or alteration of order will suspend the process.”

    The opposition has repeatedly accused Lucena of feet-dragging and making up rules to void signatures.

    LUCENA: “CYNICAL”

    As an example of what the Opposition can expect in the next more tough round requiring over 4 million signatures, the CNE ruled that 600,000 signatures were invalid, amazingly including those of Lilian Tintori (wife of jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez), Henrique Capriles (Governor of Miranda state and a key opposition figure) and even that of Jose Guerra, an opposition lawmaker who is part of the super-majority that took over Venezuela’s National Assembly in a landslide election December 6th.

    The hard-charging National Assembly Deputy Jose Angel Guerra (an economist who represents a lower-income section of Caracas) took to Twitter, protesting that his signature had been declared invalid as well as the conditions in general under which the signatures will be verified. CNE head “Tibisay Lucena has become a despicable being. Cynical”, Guerra wrote.

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  13. well shit howdy, looks like it's begun... all the news now is of the mini caracazos... hopefully the FAN will know which side to support when the chips are down...

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  14. Caprilies is so bought off. Pushing the whole country for a referendum that supposedly now will be suspended if there is any violence. The regime has already made it clear they will send to the supreme court whether it is legal or not. Off course the supreme court will say no the referendum as done is not legal. All clearly a big distraction to stop an all out coup by the people and its lead by Capriles.

    ReplyDelete

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