Translation: Nina Rancel.

On the streets of Caracas, you hear it again and again: “this is gonna blow.”

Del dicho al hecho, un solo trecho, since shortages and the high prices of food on these first six days of 2018 have done some damage to worker’s pockets and caused rioting and saqueos in several regions of the country. Events that, if it weren’t for social media and coverage from independent media outlets, would be completely ignored or dismissed. The topic is not discussed in mainstream or official media nor in Maduro´s government cabinet.

A country up in flames

Protests in Venezuela have been constant. 2017 saw high levels of social and political conflict: from April to July, there were 4,182 protests, 42 per day, let’s not even discuss that 157 people were murdered by the savage repression from the government; when the Plan Zamora was activated, a security mechanism to defeat the alleged coup d’état.

Dozens of people have been taken into custody and one pregnant woman was shot dead.

And even though people eventually came to fear the National Guard, it was hunger that rekindled the protests. December ended with action on the streets and January 2018 has been following that trend. Because they want food, people in Bolívar, Zulia, Valencia, Aragua, Miranda, Trujillo, Monagas and Distrito Capital have taken to the streets and looted over 30 businesses that sell food and clothing (20 of those just in Bolívar state). Dozens of people have been taken into custody and one pregnant woman was shot dead.

Overcoming the news blackout

As a way to break the information barrier, the news have flooded with photos and videos every group chat in Whatsapp and social media. Amid increasingly stringent censorship over traditional broadcast outlets, this kind of peer-to-peer news sharing has become pivotal Venezuela.

If this kind of news is covered on an independent TV station, the words “loots” and “riots” are replaced by the time-worn euphemism: “situación irregular”.

Mainstream media has gone silent, under pressure from the so-called Law Against Hatred, passed last November, and whose sole goal is to criminalize critical expression and to snuff out the right to peaceful protest. If this kind of news is covered on an independent TV station, the words “loots” and “riots” are replaced by the time-worn euphemism: “situación irregular”. Spots, when they are aired, seldom last more than a few seconds.

That’s why the average citizen thinks twice about taking to the streets. What we’re witnessing is the spontaneous complaint of  many people who are hungry, who can’t get cash, who can’t even buy from the bachaquero, who can’t fill up a tank of gas and who can’t find transportation to their homes, elements that are part of the socio-economic crisis and began 15 years ago with the foreign currency control regime that Chávez imposed.

Legal Looting

And while looting attempts spread all through Caracas, representatives of the Superintendencia Nacional para la Defensa de los Derechos Socioeconómicos, Sundee, visited on January 5th several supermarket chains and forced them to lower their prices by 50%.  

It’s a way of legally looting, part of the government’s bid for control over people through food.

People started queuing up overnight, to be able to grab what they could afford on Saturday, 6th. It’s a way of legally looting, part of the government’s bid for control over people through food, even if it means bankrupting private companies and hobble domestic production.

For the government, the social and humanitarian crises don’t exist. In a mandatory cadena address, Maduro offered a Bs. 500,000 bonus ($6.65) to 8 million people with carnets de la patria, a sum that’s now good for one kilo of cheese and one kilo of beef.

But on the streets of Venezuela, a social explosion is in the air. “Hunger doesn’t wait,” I overheard someone standing in line to buy eggs say. The famous old slogan “con hambre y sin empleo con Chávez me resteo,” looks like a distant memory now.


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  1. My woman went on a buying trip yesterday with her daughter to Maturin and they actually managed to find some products. I was shocked at the new prices.

    Here are just a few examples:

    Galleta Maria which we sold last week at 3,500 bs, now 8,000 bs.

    Sopa Maggi which we sold a couple of weeks ago at 3,800 bs, now 28,000 bs

    Cubito which we sold at 2,000 bs each 2 weeks ago, now 6,000 bs each

    2 liter coca cola that we sold for 15,000 bs a month ago is now 85,000 bs

    Cheetos that we sold for 7,500 bs last month now 15,000 bs

    Pepito that we sold for 3,000 bs last month is now 10,000 bs

    Sardines that we sold for 7,000 bs in early December, now 30,000 bs

    Chee-weez which we sold in November at 8,000 bs, now 50,000 bs

    Jabon azul which we sold for 20,000 bs in December is now 80.000 bs.

    Disposable razors that we sold at 18,000 bs in December are now 38,000 bs.

    Casabe which we sold last week at 7,000 bs per torta is now 10,000 bs.

    Venezuelan readers will recognize all of these products, some considered essential for getting by on a daily basis.

    Sugar has more than doubled in the last month to reach 75,000 bs if you’re lucky enough to find it. Rice, spaguetti, and butter are nowhere to be found.

    When I saw these prices last night I commented to my lady that I just don’t see how these people can survive this……where will they get the physical cash and how can they possibly afford these prices?

    Many are surviving by buying only a fraction of what they purchased before….a cuadra of casabe, a teta of sugar, a teta of coffee, even a teta of cooking oil. For those who don’t know the term “teta”, it’s basically when a product is sold in small quantities in a tiny plastic bag…….compress the product into one corner of the bag and you get something that looks like a small tit, or teta. Of course, these tiny amounts of product are generally sold with huge markups over the bulk price. Other than selling a cuadra of casabe, we don’t generally sell tetas of anything……the bags are now too expensive.

    Imagine buying and handling a teta of cooking oil. I never cease to be amazed.

    • “we don’t generally sell tetas of anything……the bags are now too expensive”

      I imagine the bags get recycled until they fall apart, and after that, people will need to cup their hands together to receive their meager amount …

    • “I just don’t see how these people can survive this……where will they get the physical cash and how can they possibly afford these prices?..Many are surviving by buying only a fraction..”

      And many more do more than just survive by participating in countless Guisos. except no one likes or dares to admit that about our virtuous pueblo-people, such hard-working, honest, poor victims…

    • And you know what I’m thinking now? Which makes this all beyond tragic and hopeless?

      With the rates of inflation/price increases you’re demonstrating here, it doesn’t even make sense for “industrious” private individuals to sell their stuff in “profitable” tetas.

      Because the product replacement cost wipes out your previous profits.

      • It does look like a game of chicken. MRubio must have some sort of plan – but investing in another round of consumer goods in a hyper-inflation system is not for the weak stomach or life savings wallet, considering the risks of theft by thieves, theft by Sundee and/or your customers simply not being able to buy the stuff at the replacement cost.

        • Knowing the inefficiency in everything Chavismo touches, what kind of reach do you think Sundee has beyond Caracas and a handful of other big cities?

          Like, how in the world do they touch even 1% of the retail establishments in the barrios anyway?

          • One by one Ira. After destroying all the big ones in the cites, then the little ones in the cities, they’ll come after what’s left in the small towns.

            And the sad part is that the locals won’t try to stop them. No, most of them will cheer them on, they’ll show up for their slice of the pie that day, laughing as they cart off what they can carry, so proud of the deal they got, never considering that tomorrow no one will be there for them, not even the government.

            I’ve seen it so many times with my own eyes, right next door at the local police station. They grab some poor owner-driver at the local chinese market with his “caba” full of supplies, look for some minor error on an invoice or problem with his papers, and then haul him to the station and then “re-distribute” his truckload of goods to the locals.

            Of course, while thinking he was going to supply the pueblo with much-needed goods, little did he know he was actually making two trips in one here……his first and his last.

          • In response to MRubio, because we’ve nested too far to be able to reply directly to his post:

            Holy, fucking, goddamn shit.

            I had no idea of the breadth and depth of this, and the accompanying social sickness.

    • excelente comentario, MRubio,…. complementa y mejora mucho lo dicho más arriba… contar lo que ve, desde su posición, siempre es de agradecer…

  2. This vulgar looting perfectly illustrates what I’ve reiterated for years: It’s not just the Chavista Narco-Kleptocrats doing the looting, it’s an entire nation. Not all, but a vast majority of regular people are now complicit. Average pueblo-people. Millions and more Millions. Way more than the 3-4 million direct enchufados en Masburro’s payroll. Plus most private companies left are complicit, too, participating in every guiso that comes up, contractors, public works, in every industry left.

    The Cubazuelan regime has successfully indoctrinated the vast majority of the populace left, at all levels: “You are welcome, compañero, aqui esta tu carnet”, carte blanche for the nation’s looting. The regime wants everyone to rob and loot and become partners in crime, at all levels, Cuban style, or leave the country (2.8 Million estimated so far) or be left out in utter poverty, begging for Clap Crap and Sabotaged Portuguese Pernil. Pathetic. “Y mi pernil?” That’s how most Venezuelan think. (Everyone’s stealing, so where’s my piece of the pie?” At all levels, everywhere. Not just Chavistas, either, even the “opposition” people, heck, even the MUD leaders are often complicit crooks.

    As these latest news clearly demonstrate, when given a chance most average Kleptozuelans promptly participate in any Guiso available, breaking whatever law, legal or moral principles they don’t have. Not all, but the vast majority of our average pueblo-people, plus whatever corrupt middle-class and super-corrupt upper class people left, most of them have participated for years and years in the Desfalco Nacional.

    Nothing less than a Massive, Popular Pilferage of an entire rich nation. Granted, the biggest loots going to a few Thousand Mega Crooks in PDVSA, Derwicks, Corpoelecs, Chavistas, etc, but a lot of it also disseminated for the average Kleptozuelan pueblo-people crooks. Well illustrated in the latest social media pictures. But few have the balls or audacity to recognize this, much less denounce it publicly, pretending that our pueblo-people are victims, hard working saints.. They are not. Face it. Not most of them. Therefore, many, a vast majority of those who couldn’t flee the mess, do deserve what they have contributed in creating, still participated in: the massive, popular looting of Kleptozuela.

    But most of us in exile, or on public media such as this seem ashamed or even fear admitting the obvious: Our “glorioso, bravo pueblo” ain’t that great, not at all, most are responsible in good measure for the mess they live in and continue to propagate, themselves.

  3. There’s a reason Venezuela prospered when the hated Extranjeros arrived to develop the petroleum industry, and why the slide into the shithole began once the vivos criollos took it over.

    Same reason Venezuela was a sleepy backwater pre era Petrolera.

    The great Venezuelans are outnumbered by the parasites. Call me prejudiced, don’t care. The facts say it all.


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