Sometime Caracas Chronicles contributor Carlos Hernández has an amazing OpEd in the New York Times today on the way hunger has quietly made its up to the middle class in Ciudad Guayana.
We decided to make tea combining resources from our four apartments. We couldn’t scrounge up enough sugar. Someone had frozen pineapple and passion fruit peels. Someone boiled water.
Everyone brought their own cup, each with a different design. Mine, with a picture of a cow, was the ugliest. We sat on the floor of the hallway outdoors and in the shade of a tall mango tree.
The infusion was surprisingly tasty, considering the ingredients. One of the guys said, “Yeah, and it helps a little with the hunger.” That’s Manuel. He’s a law student and the youngest in the group. He used to be buff.
My brother, a lawyer who once had a fat neck, nodded. “We don’t even have the mangoes to round off dinner,” he said. I looked at the tree. We live on the third floor, so we’ve always been able to grab its highest fruits fairly easily. In season, they usually go to waste. This year, the tree’s already bare.
There’s something uniquely powerful in the deadpan way Carlos puts forward his personal experience of hunger here and melds it with a casual — almost funny — but unmistakably urgent call for international action and humanitarian aid.
It’s…well, just read it.