I am watching and reading some of the news on Venezuela, slightly bemused. Apparently they are so unbelievable for the civilized world that one would be forgiven to think that Venezuela: survivor is just your latest reality show fade, somewhere between the Kardashians for its bad taste and Chopped for its cut throat run for food. My favorite of the day comes from a segment from yesterday nightly news (the big one at France 2) which starts with a food line. Yet readers of this blog have seen much more impressive lines filmed by yours truly, in this blog or Instagram.
But it is getting serious and CÑN tonight had a title with "no bread in Venezuela".
It is true and it is not amusing.
I eat little bread for diet reasons, limiting myself to full fiber sliced super market loaves. But the SO wanted some bakery bread. I went to 4. I did not find any. The last one I found some "pan dulce" and that was that, good enough to eat with a cup of coffee, if you have it. They also told me that they bake bread only twice a day now, for early breakfast and for diner when people come back from work. Depending on the bakery they give one or two "canillas" (sort of our local baguette). And that within 15 minutes it is usually all gone.
But this is not the only item missing.
Since my return early February things have been getting worse, almost on a daily basis. Supermarket shelves are getting emptier, lines are less frequent because nothing arrives, and when something arrives lines get truly huge in no time. If bakery bread is missing sliced bread is down at the grocery store and my favorite brand has now a weird taste. I am not complaining, I can still switch to another brand. For how long?
Bottled water seems to be gone for good.
Choice is also gone. Deli is getting to a "it is that or nothing level". Now grocery stores are not even trying to hide the empty spaces with junk.
On the medical front things are worse, if possible. Today I learned of the arrival of some generics from a medicine for triglycerides that I had to stop taking. I arrived in time at my local "LOCATEL". I tried to get also a small bottle of rubbing alcohol. To my surprise there is none. The lone brand on the market has stopped delivering. No more rubbing alcohol for your disinfection needs!
Since my SO, and the mother in law, are physically unable to stand in line for anything for more than half an hour, we must all share the burden. I cannot so I am resorting more and more to black market. I put on Instagram the latest of my loot on toilet paper, two heavy bags at 8 times the normal cost (and I learned that actually I got it for cheap!). But I also got 12 kilos of pasta that way, albeit at only twice the normal cost. Currently I am waiting for milk (it will be twice) and rice (at least thrice). But I have also been told not to hope much for that arrival. Corn flour is too political so my black market guy does not dare to go there. For that I will need to go to "buhoneros" in Petare at 4 times the cost, if not more, under the eyes of the Nazional Guard.
There is no black market for medicine because there is none. Well, almost no black market. One of my siblings got some of his heart medicine from some one bringing it form the US and cashing it in USD!!!!!!! Well, in all fairness apparently there had been some mistake so the guy sold what he did not need through contacts, but in dollars, with overhead anyway. I am expecting some form of black market for some medicines to start organizing.
At this point the neglect of the regime can only be qualified as of criminal, worthy of large scale human right violations and The Hague court. It is as such because the regime refuses to let any opening for anything, aware as they are that if they relinquish control over any item they risk to see everything tumble down fast. So if "el pueblo" suffers a secret Zika epidemic because there is no fumigation, there is no insect repellent, there is not even material to do mosquito netting, well too bad. I also read that HIV may be getting out of control since there has been a lack of protection for over a year, and lack of testing. This in addition to malaria and tuberculosis that made a come back BEFORE Chavez died.
Make no mistake: it is Chavez electorate that is suffering the most. And it is the one that lately seems to start heating up.
So you will excuse me if articles about gas hike in Venezuela or lack of tourists, even though it is the cheapest destination in the Western hemisphere, leave me cold.
I, for one, could not care less if my car gasoline refill is now 350 instead of 5.
In fact I do not give a shit about gas price.
I have real problems elsewhere. Let foreign journos that are into spectator sports take care of that.