In Venezuela, Every Day Feels Like a Via Crucis

Venezuelans are forced to go through hell whenever they need to get pretty much anything done. We don’t carry the burden of the cross, but we carry and are burdened by chavismo even when we don’t deserve it.

Photo: Infobae, retrieved

After hours on queue under the burning sun, an elderly woman gets her turn at the bank. All she’ll get is a single bill that can’t buy a whole egg carton. Mistreated, hungry and thirsty, she’ll get home with barely enough to eat for the night, the journey will end with the sacrifice of her own freedom and perhaps she’ll mourn the death of whatever hope she had left. There’s not a better reminder of Jesus’ suffering on the path to his crucifixion.

Via Crucis happens everyday in this country, specially in the small things.

It’s not that coping has become impossible, or that surviving means suffering, because still, we get by. But we lose tiny bits of sanity while doing so. What felt difficult, yet achievable, is now, for all intents and purposes, like carrying a cross: we face what’s ahead knowing that, after excruciating suffering, falling three times or more, we’ll end the day feeling our spirit was tortured and killed.

What felt difficult, yet achievable, is now, for all intents and purposes, like carrying a cross

We’ve said this many times before, but it’s not stressed enough: there isn’t a single thing that can be done easily in Venezuela. Paying the bills, buying groceries, commuting to work or school, visiting loved ones, finding decent women’s hygiene products, catching a movie, parking your car, going to the bank, getting your venezuelan ID card or passport, going to the doctor’s office, the list is endless. All of those things represent our own chavismo sponsored walk with the cross.

Catholic culture teaches us today is about the remembrance of Jesus’ path and suffering carrying of the cross ‘til resurrection. Many times, while facing the dire reality in front of us, whether realizing we can’t afford the medicine we need or spending 18 hours in a blackout, I’ve found myself asking the very same question Jesus asked.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

I bet I’m not the only one wondering, but even if you’re not alone, it’s very hard not to think about God and one’s beliefs while trying to survive. When will this be over? Why must we go through all of this? When will the suffering end? Has the world forsaken us?

In this country, everybody’s daily struggles fit perfectly into a Via Crucis. A long walk of endurance, falling, getting help, and at the end, if we are lucky, resurrecting to a brand new day.

To me, Holy Week and the stories of Jesus’ ordeal should serve as a way to reflect upon our own suffering, our own paths walked through misery. To remind ourselves that this isn’t normal and awareness shouldn’t be lost amidst the madness. All the hardships willingly placed upon us by this merciless government shouldn’t be minimized. Every station of our personal walks with the cross need to be analyzed, shared and remembered.

I won’t forget. And I hope, when this is over, we’ll get a whole week to commemorate our Venezuelan resurrection, too.

Astrid Cantor

Head of the Church of Martha Stewart: I bake therefore I am. Táchirense: Almojabana and quesadilla lover, "toche" and "juemadre" user. Pastelitos de queso con bocadillo fanatic and overall gochadas supporter. Also doctor —as in proper MD— and pobresora universitaria too.