Original art by Mario Dávila
Every Who down in Venezuelaville liked Christmas a lot
But the Grinch, who lived just South of Venezuelaville’s capital in Fuerte Tiuna, Did NOT!
The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season!
Now, please don’t ask why, no one quite knows the reason
We now know he wants to control it in order to destroy it
All because his heart is a million sizes too small and he loves it.
During his first year in office, on November 1st, 2013, our Grinch, Nicolás Maduro, decided to start the Christmas season early by decree. Just like El Chigüire Bipolar predicted, Maduro’s Christmases-by-decree would happen every year since then.
A week after those mandatory holidays were mandated, on live TV, Maduro ordered “the immediate occupation of [Daka stores] and the retailing of all products at a “fair price.” All products. Let there be nothing left on the shelves.” This would later become known as the Dakazo, and it worked wonders for PSUV in the municipal elections that took place a few weeks later.
Massive Christmas enforcement raids (fiscalizaciones, in newspeak) would become a yearly trend, largely due to the Ley Orgánica de Precios Justos, a first version of which was made official a couple of months after the Dakazo.
Exactly one year later, in 2014, Plan Navidad Segura was launched and Christmas “arrived early” again. This time, a big team of elves would help the Grinch: 700 fiscales from Sundee and 27,100 inspectores populares from 13,500 Unidades de Batalla Bolívar-Chávez raided shopping malls and bus terminals.
During Christmas 2015, the enforcement raid terror-show continued; the team of elves included over 2,600 fiscales, together with the Guardia Nacional Bolivariana, the ephemeral women’s union Unamujer, and the Bolivarian Militia.
Massive Christmas enforcement raids (fiscalizaciones, in newspeak) would become a yearly trend, largely due to the Ley Orgánica de Precios Justos.
The following Christmas would start even earlier. In July 2016, the Grinch announced the ultimate Christmas plan, “21 semanas y 1/2 por las hallacas agrourbanas”. (Twenty one and a half weeks until agro-urban hallacas—our traditional Venezuelan christmas tamales). In December, many toy and clothing stores were raided, the EPK children’s apparel chain of stores being one of the prime targets — hence, the Epkazo. And since raiding wasn’t enough, 4 million toys were confiscated from Kreisel.
So far, we have the Clap Hallaquero and the Merry Pernil for everyone. The minimum wage increase doesn’t count, because it’s now as common as an Olga Tañón concert during the oil boom, and raids on meat and poultry sellers began last week, so I’m not sure it counts as part of the Grinch’s plan either. What’s it going to be, then? New electoral travesties? Raids on orphanages? Raids and arrests of children?
We’ll soon know what this year’s nightmare before christmas will be.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.