It has been three weeks without posting. But in all truth what should have I written about?
That the regime has decided to become outright cruel, be it Leopoldo Lopez jail or the Colombian border disgraceful human rights abuses?
That new electoral cheating is performed?
That now criminal gangs are using grenades against police quarters, when grenades are supposedly exclusive property of the military?
That even Putin tries to explain to Maduro that the price of oil ain't going back up any time soon?
That Obama and the Pope and the West are only too happy to let Venezuela sink as long as it keeps financing a Cuban transition and an assortment of ungrateful shitty islands of the Caribbean?
That the Syrian refugee crisis is to be blamed squarely on the West for not assuming its full responsibility when it started applauding the Arab spring?
That Santos seem to have been defeated by the FARC and Cuba and chavismo when the battle was nearly won when he assumed power first, a victory where his participation was stellar?
You already get the hint that 2015 will be a lost year for a lot of people even though we are only on October 4.
That realization came to me a couple of days ago, that the regime had stolen from me 2015, that it has not allowed me to even try to achieve any modest goal. The year has been a constant reaction to try to deal with negative events in increasingly desperate situations.
I have been looking back and there is no joy, nothing positive for me.
The year has been spent in lines trying to find food and toiletries items and medicines, not even for me, but for my cancer stricken life partner (and other people when I can help). See, he cannot stand in lines for the hours required to acquire food. He cannot go to half a dozen of pharmacies in a row to try to find one that has the pain killer or the anti inflammatory, or the anti-whatever the doctors prescribe. Even nutritional supplements are hard to find and too expensive for his budget. That and other stuff I have had to start paying for, never minding that I have had to go to the black market prices because I also need to work and I cannot spend 2-3 days a week looking for stuff.
As if this ordeal was not bad enough, it has made me face to incredible cruelty of the regime, its immense stupidity to boot. See, those long lines under the sun are equal for all, a true socialist victory. Pregnant women, sick people, elderly with mobility problem, etc... all have to stand in that same line, no consideration whatsoever for any one, starting with the people in the line that have lost any decency in their search for basic items. Eat shit and die is the message.
But there is insult to injury, true injury from what you can get above. I have seen or heard from reliable witnesses how the Nazional Guards or other forms of "authority" help themselves first, or let go ahead of the line their friends or take payment to allow you to do so. The abuse of power is more obvious, more cruel when such situations arise.
And more insult to the intelligence as the system is a mess of confusion and inefficacy. Some items are by ID card end number, some items are "once a week", more and more stores demand finger prints from BOTH your thumbs, even if you buy, say, a bag of chips. That finger printing is ominous because it seems to be working better than anticipated even though lines to pay are twice as long as the process to pay is twice as long. The implications is clear: at any time through these machines the regime can restrict access to whatever it wants to restrict. And to whomever. Food apartheid in the making.
You may think that perhaps I can find solace elsewhere, like at work. But the situation is getting worse by the day. I have already detailed on occasion how difficult it is to manufacture things in Venezuela, to produce anything. The two main causes are the lack of raw material and the labor laws that not only make it hard to organize efficiency at work but are now creating havoc as you cannot fire the constantly missing workers that have to leave work to stand in food lines. Not that you would fire them anyway as you understand the situation but the "food shortage absenteeism" has become a source of new abuses.
There is also insult to injury. As your business is having a hard time to survive, you observe newcomers that seem to be quite prosperous. For example the Polar group is closing its detergent and soap plants due to lack of raw material. But there is a newcomer, "Clic", that is flooding supermarkets with pricey house cleaning items. They even run expensive TV ads! How do they manage to get the raw materials to assemble their concoctions? Why are they the only brand with such a complete and well packaged line of products? Because the packaging of other products trying to replace Polar products is dismal, for low quality products to begin with.
And yet that is not all. There is a new plague on business. Once upon a time corruption was expensive but some forms were preserved. For example to get money out of you they would use catch phrases like "the dockets are loaded, but maybe we could find ways to speed up processing your application to X". Now they ask you money upfront, without any shame. Usually assorted with threats that are not based on anything legal, just because they can threaten you as there is nowhere you can go for redress. The reason for this new bluntness that we have observed in recent months is very simple: bureaucrats know that their fate is sealed no matter what happens with December elections. See, even if chavismo were to win, there is not enough money to spread around anymore and many of them will be shown the door if they are on the wrong side of post December chavismo reshuffled leadership. So the time is now for a last push for corruption money. It is that simple.
How can you score any success in front of such a negative environment? Unless survival on the edge of bankruptcy is considered a success. Note that the latest business climate studies put Venezuela dead last, even behind Syria.
That is why I can write already that 2015 has been a lost. That no matter what happens in the last quarter the negativity of the first three quarters cannot be overcome anymore. I feel exactly in the same mood as I felt in October 2014: a sad mood with the certitude that next year will be worse.