Photo: Gabriel Méndez

A few weeks ago, I was having a quick lunch at a burger joint near my office when I noticed the meat was undercooked. I told the waiter and he returned it to the kitchen, and nothing could have been further from my mind than La Resistencia, all those kids who came with shields and hoods to protest in Caracas last year. Life has a way of making you remember things, because sitting there, a young man about my age approached. He was well dressed but when he got closer, he raised his hands and politely asked if I had any leftovers for him.

For some reason, I empathized more with this man than with any other beggar before. Maybe it was the way he spoke; it felt like he could have been a friend from school with really bad luck, foreshadowing my worst nightmares of what could happen to those of us still here. I told him there would be leftovers for him after I finished, and he waited by the door.

A huge stroke of guilt filled me. What was the difference between me and him? What could have possibly happened (besides chavismo) to leave him begging for food? I felt disgusted for even returning my meal it in the first place, so I looked at the door and the man looked back. I waived to bring him inside, but he didn’t understand; he glanced at his clothes (which were dirty), shaking his head. After I insisted, he grabbed some strength and came in. For a moment, I even got scared; after all, this is Caracas, and Caracas bites.

What could have possibly happened (besides chavismo) to leave him begging for food?

I shook his hand and asked for his name. “Jonathan,” he replied a bit confused. I placed my plate and a glass of water on the other side of the table and asked him to sit down and eat whatever he wanted. With a combination of decorum and desperation, he ate the burger. His fingers were black from dirt and even blood, but he used a little spoon to spread different sauces between the bun and the meat, and then some on a corner of the plate for the chips.

When he was done, he cleaned his mouth and hands with a napkin, thanked me, and asked my name. I was wearing a Universidad Católica Andrés Bello jacket and, looking at it, he asked if I attended there. “I actually graduated yesterday,” I said. The juxtaposition of both realities was overwhelming; he looked up as if remembering, and told me he used to know some people studying there. He even graduated from high school and considered enrolling himself.

The topic shifted to misery and Venezuela, and I addressed the elephant in the room: “How long have you been on the streets?”

“Since November.” He got a bit emotional. “And it’s tougher by the month. It’s harder to find food now and you have to compete for garbage bags. When this started, I could buy things with the cash they gave me, but now that’s impossible. I miss my mom, you know. I miss my brothers, and the way we fought. I miss my house, sleeping in my bed, and the way my mom cooked.”

Tears dropped from his eyes.

“Where are they?” I asked.

Jonathan took a deep breath.

“I’m a convicted felon,” he said. “I was jailed for protesting last year and my family was prosecuted, so they had to flee the country. I’m under presentation regime now, so every month I must go to court.”

I miss my mom, you know. I miss my brothers, and the way we fought. I miss my house, sleeping in my bed, and the way my mom cooked.

The next bit asked fortitude of him: “This country is fucked up. I lost everything for believing in a project and politicians who didn’t deliver. The friends who fought with me forgot everything once I was jailed, and the people from your UCAB didn’t even send me water while I was in prison. When I got out, I was alone, and the government had destroyed everything. Everything is closed, no one will hire me and I have nowhere to live.”

In 2017, teenagers from everywhere in Venezuela fled their homes to fight in the first lines of the opposition’s protests. They ate what other protestors gave them and slept in hidden corners of the city. After protests got smaller and less frequent, they started begging for money and food, waiting for clashes to restart. They never did, and we saw less guerreros de La Resistencia on the streets. I thought they returned home, but in reality, the SEBIN found and raided their nests. Jonathan is living proof of what happened to them after we moved on with our lives.

Truth is, I don’t know, and will never know, how legit his tale is. Regardless, I told him to get out of here, I told him about the possibilities he could find if he reaches the border. His face glowed and he looked up, as if imagining having an actual future. He said he’d try to cross and find a job, but that maybe in the future he’d come back.

I just hope that, wherever he’s now, begging isn’t his way of life anymore.

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.


    • Exactly. It could be any of us.

      1 Corinthians 15:8-10 “Last of all, as to one born abnormally, he appeared to me. For I am the least of the apostles, not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am…”.

      Words to remember

  1. I don’t understand why when things get this desperate that the dog, instead of being kicked and limping off whimpering, doesn’t bite back?

    Is it cultural? I cannot fathom any other reason.

    • 20 years of brainwashing, 16 of them have been “you’re alone, no one’ll help you, you’re just a radical empantuflado who wants a bloodshed, then go and die alone like the stupid lunatic you are, radical, let us live our lives, the rest of the world doesn’t care”

      That’s been the message the supossed “opposition leadership” has broadcast to ALL people in Venezuela for 16 straight years after the first great massacre chavismo performed, the 25 murders in april 11 of 2002.

  2. President Maduro, please resign, with your government, in your own interests. At this time you only postpone the time of your execution by the lynching squad. Do it now and be with the courts for a sentence. This way you will stay alive.

  3. This article perfectly illustrates how afraid the remaining people in Kleptozuela are. They gave up, big time. Scared to death. They’ve seen enough jail, poverty and misery by now. They’re persecuted, and whomever dares to dream about rebellion is soon discouraged, talking to people like the burger guy here. The sinister Castro-Chavista Master Plan worked to perfection: Repression, Fear and Intimidation are a central part of it. Mission accomplished. People are scared shitless. Which reiterates that they only way out would be if the US is kind enough to save their sorry asses, with a few helicopters, one lucky day. Otherwise, clearly, they are forever doomed, just like Cuba, decade after decade after decade.

    • “People are scared shitless”

      This needs to be turned to rage. When scared shitless gives way to “Fuck it. I’m going to die anyway, might as well take a few RedShirts with me!”… that is when change occurs. This filthy, hungry kid? He is what Venezuela needs right now. But his fear needs to be channeled into rage. Take from the Chavists what they have stolen from you.

      “Which reiterates that they only way out would be if the US is kind enough to save their sorry asses, with a few helicopters, one lucky day.”

      It doesn’t work that way. I know. Been there. Done that. (Just Cause, 1989)

      Uncle doesn’t send in Rambo or Chuck Norris on board a couple of Hueys. Uncle knows how many ground pounders He needs to get the job done quickly and efficiently. An overwhelming number… then He triples that number.

      Logistically, it could be done easily enough. Logically, Uncle won’t do it, for any number of reasons. Namely, He has ZERO interest in Venezuela. The oil sucks. We have enough sucky oil.

      Secondly, the people are still Chavists at heart, who believe that Heaven awaits here on earth in the form of Karl Marx. Uncle has over extended himself all over this globe… “nation building” for people who don’t give the least shit about taking for themselves the liberty they SAY they want. And they hate us for it. And we’ve grown to resent them.

      Politically, sending in the troops would create an epic shitstorm. Nuff’ said.

      Don’t count on the US military for anything except humanitarian aid (if it ever comes) as part of a relief package.

      • These central truths cannot be repeated often enough:
        “…the people are still Chavists at heart…” and they always will be (they always have been since long before Chavez — it’s cultural).

        “…’nation building’ for people who don’t give the least shit about taking for themselves the liberty they SAY they want. And they hate us for it.” And they hate us even more after we depose their beloved tyrants and after we shower them with humanitarian aid. It reminds them why they hate themselves: people who love liberty and accept responsibility achieve excellence.

      • Totally agree. And, as Colin Powell said, “Once you invade a country, then you own it.” We already own a LatAm basket case (Puerto Rico). We don’t need another.

        • ” We already own a…”

          Who owns what, dude? Just make a referendum in the island and they’ll go toss themselves at the chance of becoming part of the USA in a blink.

          • They never make it a binding referendum with two choices. Always the opportunity to “remain as we are”.

            They need to either
            a. Accept their destiny as an independent nation
            b. Embrace statehood, or
            c. Hitch their wagon to someone else

            The average US taxpayer is tired of Puerto Rico’s excuses for perpetual failure. The people are fantastic, but politically and economically, it is the dregs.

          • “The people are fantastic, but politically and economically, it is the dregs.”

            The political “leadership”, as usual, which uses a stupid pro-communist fake-nationalist speech to blame everything on the USA.

          • In 2009 Puerto Rico had an opportunity to become ground zero for deployment of solar electricity in the caribbean(despite hurricanes, the high amount of sunlight and the prevalence of super-expensive oil-based electricity generation makes solar a comparative bargain.) The newly elected politicians EXPLICITLY told me they would not support an initiative that MIGHT benefit their opposition, so anything that paid off in more than two years was completely out of the question.

  4. Beautifully written. Poignantly sad to tears. The nascent rebellion sold out by the Oppo leaders. They are not doomed, however. Venezuela will be forcefully fumigated; if not, an entire Region will need it, which would be a geo-political nightmare.

  5. Wait! He said it and no one has yet to grab and run with it. The oppsition politicians left him and all the others hanging out to dry, including their families who fled the country.

    With LL the excuse was too early (leave him to rot in prison so as to not F’up capriles ambitions).. with MCM it was to shrill, she’s a woman no one will vote for.. for the chamo it was Fuckng Henry Ramos Allup with “let’s talk” dialogue Bullshit that killed students and then their protests. Now it’s elections with Fuckin’ Henry Falson.. Many now say it’s too late. Many write here to go after the redshirts, when you should be going after the vermin you call MUD opposition leaders who sold you all down the river Guaire of shit.

  6. For stories like this is why I can never forgive the fuck face of Ramos Allup, calling for regional elections the day after the Prostituyente was imposed.

  7. Wow. Great article.

    And it revealed the double jeopardy kids like this are in:

    Does his criminal status prevent his legal migration to a new country that otherwise WOULD accept him under refugee status?

  8. Looks like I’m one of the few who still believes the US might very well go for a brief, surgical military intervention in Kleptozuela. For multiple Geo-political and Economic reasons, another Cuba cannot be tolerated by the civilized world. It’s no isolated small island lost in the Caribbean, and it ain’t Nicaragua, Bolivia or Ecuador. Cubazuela is much, much bigger, much richer, right in the middle of the continent, too strategic as THE potential Hub for Massive International Drug Trade. Plus it’s too well connected with China, Russia, Iran, Hezbolah and the rest of all Evil freaking countries on the planet. An Axis of Evil, as Bush used to say, right through Kleptozuela: Intolerable for the USA, for the entire American Region and the Civilized World. It cannot stand another decade, nor a few years more. No way.

    The Civilized First World has been waiting to see what happened with Cuba, and is now alert with Colombia, Mexico, and Brazil. (No one cares about little shitholes like Bolivia or Nicaragua). They’ve been waiting to see if Kleptozuela would implode by itself, or explode: didn’t happen. Now they’re still waiting to see what happens after the massive “elections” fraud, and what happens in Colombia and Mexico real soon.

    Even if the Right prevails in those important countries, Kleptozuela must be dealt with. Mark those words.

    Militarily, if and when necessary, rather soon now, right after the mega-fraud, right after the dust settles in the aforementioned surrounding countries. Now with Pompeo as top Secretary of State, watch out. Huge difference, very important recent change in the US administration. That dude is way more radical than Tillerson ever was. And Macron + the EU? Buddies with The Donald. Macron, especially, wants Chavismo out. And he wants it real bad, even more than the UK does.

    With all of that in sight, write it down: Kleptozuela will be dealt with.

      • !!!NOT!!!

        Diplomatic/financial options are far, FAR from being exhausted.

        SOS Pompeo is in no mood to see US troops go to their deaths at the hands of another puppet regime we would need to install. He realized the follies of this from Viet Nam and Afghanistan.

        VZ corruption is at every political and social level. No way do “filthy gringos” need that headache to deal with these days. Troops would need to “pacify” not only the military and political bodies, but, the chavista gangs and criminal units that would wage guerrilla warfare on their behalf.

        Not to mention the decrepit infrastructure that would cost US taxpayers TRILLIONS just to make functional (assuming it doesn’t get sabotaged repeatedly and industrial contractors kidnapped along the way).

        If their people don’t want to be free and if Us military commanders cannot commit to “total war”, then there is no point. The TSJ in excile is not brave enough to offer the US legal coverage, don’t think for a second a single sailor/soldier is going to storm the beaches of Playa Grande or sail up the Rio San Julian.

        “Pottery Barn” rules apply, now more than ever. VZ is more closely aligned to China/Cuba/Russia than the Canada/US/Mexico establishment. By a YUGE margin.

        Look at the wonderful mess that Syria (thanks to “The Light Bringer”) is in these days… just imagine that 10 fold happening in VZ.

    • Seems like wishful thinking. Venezuela in 2018 is not 1989 Panama, and an invasion would NOT be a surgical strike. Noriega’s Panama had only 15,000 troops, and the United States had military bases all around the capital. And Panama, a country with fewer than three million people at that time, had a legitimate, already elected president waiting in the wings.Venezuela has 115,000 troops, in addition to tanks and fighter jets. It is a country of 30 million people, about 20 percent of whom still support the Maduro government. These supporters have an ideology — anti-imperialist socialism — which serves to coordinate their efforts and helps to explain Maduro’s resilience.The change will come from within, not the freedom bombs from the US. Venezuelan leaders have also been preparing for “asymmetrical” warfare for more than a decade. And there is no chance that countries in the region would participate in an effort to topple Mr. Maduro — Brazil and Colombia has already stated as much.

      • “Venezuela has 115,000 troops, in addition to tanks and fighter jets.”

        Check the numbers again, the “troops” are fleeing en masse, now lowlife criminals that only know to fight unarmed, un-defending and helpless civilians are the only actual support for the regime, they might kill ladies and kids doing yoga in the streets very well, but they’ll turn tail and run once the first bullet comes in the opposite direction. Also their tanks and jets are falling down into pieces, armored vehicles are used by chavismo to crush kids on the streets, one well-placed drone missile and bye bye “tanqueta china”

        “about 20 percent of whom still support the Maduro government.”

        Lies, the support for chabzimo has been under 12% since 2005 when it was demonstrated that that was their roof, and now it might very well be under 7% after all their fuckups and the amount of chabiztas that have fled their revolution looking to live in capitalist countries.

        “…“asymmetrical” warfare…”

        Which is slang for “killing unarmed civilians whenever they protest”

        “Brazil and Colombia has already stated as much.”

        Brazil is very well changing its mind soon when colectivos (Refer to a previous paragraph in this post, chabiztas fleeing Venezuela) start slaughtering brazilian folks like a poor man’s farc, and Colombia’s Santos is known to be another pro-chabizta piece of garbage, proof of that is the “total impunity pact” he shoved down Colombia’s throat.

      • “Noriega’s Panama had only 15,000 troops, and the United States had military bases all around the capital.”

        Larry, Caracas has only 3 (three) badly maintained roads to connect to the rest of the country. You block those 3, done deal. The troops are much less (dunno where you get your numbers, and would instantly flee en masse. They are far from “ideologically” inclined to anything, what they are is hungry. They’d be scared to death to see ONE Us helicopter and one marine. With very few choppers, few Seal team 6 guys, some coordination with malcontent mid-level Kleptozuelan military and MUDcrap guys, and that’s it, in a day or 2 they are subdued, in less than 2 weeks the marines can go back home.

        • Umm… there are plenty of military troops and FARC aligned units positioned outside of the capital.

          I really doubt they would drop their weapons and wave a white flag.

          And what is to be done with all the chavista supporting gangs and embedded SEBIN units?

          50% of the people being fed are in on the take … if 80% of the population actually revolted, things would be different. But, they won’t and prefer free stuff.

          They clap for their CLAP bags more every day.

          • “Umm… there are plenty of military troops and FARC aligned units positioned outside of the capital.”

            Muggers, serial murdereds, rapists, street thugs, only trained and useful to butcher unarmed civilians.

            “I really doubt they would drop their weapons and wave a white flag.”

            Until the “escuálidos” get their hands on them:


            “They clap for their CLAP bags more every day.”

            HAHAHAHAHAAH! You still think people are kept quiet just because they are being offered the chance to buy food?! HAHAHAHHAHAAAAH! My sides, dammit! The first ones that are whining about the whole swindle of the food MONOPOLY are the chabobos themselves because they are supposedly “forced to work for those stupid marginals”, because they really thought they could have their “free” food and period, but now they’ve seen that the same chabeztias are squeezing their useless bolivars for that same “free” food that’s sold at millions of bolivars the kilo.

  9. “…politicians who didn’t deliver.”

    There’ll be a special place in history for those who betrayed Venezuela to favor chabizmo for a mouthful of dollars.

  10. I guess I need to be the heartless one.

    Did you ask this person who was begging for scraps if he (or she) was one of those who supported Chavez and the “revolution” the first go around?

    Those are the ones who fell for the lies (and were warned)
    – Free stuff ain’t free
    – Trading freedoms for security ends in neither
    – Demonizing economic diversity and wealth creation
    – Targeting private sector visionaries

    Why not sneak up behind a SEBIN member when they are at home with their families with some other youths and elicit justice instead of asking other people just-getting-by to support them?

    And to all those who believe POTUS Donald Trump is going to send in troops to “free” these folks, think again. If the VZ population will not at least ATTEMPT to free itself, why should “filthy gringos” to the north lift a finger? Human rights violations take place everywhere, its not the job of the US military to be the “world police”.

    My son will not fight for your cause if you won’t lead the first battle.

    • I used to struggle with the same issue, but I simply can’t blame people into their even early 30s now who supported Chavismo at the “start.” They were just young teenagers then, and shouldn’t have to pay for the sins of their fathers.

      What does a 15-year-old kid know about economics and politics, and how can he resist his family’s Chavista influence, let alone the state propaganda apparatus?

      I know it’s wishful thinking, but perhaps today’s wasted young generation under Chavismo represents the turnover to a smarter young generation that can “fix” VZ, and rid the country forever of the perils of leftist populism.

      • “What does a 15-year-old kid know about economics and politics…”

        What could have done a 15-year old in 1998 when he couldn’t vote? Because it’s people really so naive to believe ANY of the elections after 1998 wasn’t a fraud in the same magnitude than the prostituyente’s during past year?

        What could have done that same 15-year old when he was 9 when the mortadelo launched his 4-Fiasco in 1992?

        And what could have done that very 15-year old when he was 6 in the middle of the cuban-sponsored coup that was the cara-estiercolazo in february 27 of 1989?

        Yet he’s supposedly guilty as sin of every single problem now in Venezuela an thus “dEzErbUz sHabBizmMo foReVuRR duur hurrr!”

        • Yeah. I didn’t even take into consideration their ages at these times anyway.

          It’s just that this nightmare has been going on for so long, that we have a huge generation of people into their THIRTIES who had nothing to do with this mess.

          They just have to suffer it.

          It kind of puts it all in perspective.

  11. What many people like Mitchell here still do not comprehend is that if the USA intervenes militarily, it’s becuase it’s in THEIR INTEREST to do so, as I have explained many times, for numerous specific geo-political, economic, and drug trade reasons. As even Obama said, Kleptozuela is an international threat of sorts, too big to ignore much longer. The USA WANTS many things from Kleptozuela, and DOESN’T WANT many other things, like drugs, like Cuba’s, and Iran’s and Russia’s and China’s and Hezbolah influence everywhere in the Continent and their backyard. Comprende?

    It’s in our interest to send a few choppers and a few marines for a few weeks, and quickly hand it over to some prearranged military malcontents and MUD guys. I speak as a US Citizen here: We should send a few troops after the election fraud, because it’s good for the USA, economically and geo-politically, Cappice?

    • You never seem to address what happens the day after the regime falls. Colectivos, true believers, common criminals and emptied prisons, someone is going to be responsible for establishing law and order. Who? Local police and soldiers, the same ones people detest or some foreign force going “mano duro” in front of the world? No good options.

      • Any options are better than colectivos planting bomb cars or making mass shootings everywhere like they did in the 90s.

        Why do you think chabiztos of the lowest level hate the 4th so much? Because many of their relatives were some of those worthless criminal terrorist scum that kept murdering people since the 60s and that reached their onaninst fantasy of a city carpeted with dead in the february 27 of 1989 (the care-mierdazo)

  12. All I can say is “I tolda so.” I fuckin a tolda so.

    I ain’t no fuckin commie, but to quote Zizek nonetheless: “don’t act, just think.”

    Thinking… It’s such a great and useful thing.

  13. I can understand wanting Maduro gone. I can even understand wanting any/all military options available to expedite his departure. But one question needs to be asked, before volunteering someone elses kid (an American ground troop) to invade and conquer Venezuela: Why would Uncle Sam sacrifice his boys for people who won’t rise up themselves? (I’m sorry, but this fake outrage, intifada-style stuff from last year doesn’t count as an uprising)

    El Pueblo LOVES Karl Marx. Their biggest problem with Chavismo is that the current leadership isn’t delivering the goodies. El Pueblo would happily continue on with this dictatorship, providing the CLAP boxes showed up regularly.

    Why the fuck would we American citizens run off to help people who love Marxism? So our guys can spill their blood and die, only to leave a few years later and have the population vote in another Marxist fraud?

    No thanks.

    • “people who won’t rise up themselves? (I’m sorry, but this fake outrage, intifada-style stuff from last year doesn’t count as an uprising)”

      So what’s your so-called uprising? Piles of colectivos corpses everywhere, Matrix-style scenes where “el pueblo” tears into pieces the gnbs while dodging ALL the bullets, grenades, missiles and tanks, even when all the media and public opinion were used along the guns, tanks and rockets to crush the people into submission?

      For all the so-called “outrage” against Trump in USA, all the “people’s rage” gets channeled only into a handful of hysterical magpies screeching at the top of their lungs that the “orange” said something hurtful on twitter (Or that he’s the gringo shiabbe), so no one else cares about the anti-Trump movement because they can still eat.

      Marxism and drugs are just an excuse, the real problem is the very real terrorist bases that are set not in Caracas (because as much as the colectivos killed thousands of people during 2017, they’re just armed muggers in the end), but that are scattered among al the rest of the territory of the country, with proven examples of hezbollah, hamas and the farc having turned about half of Venezuela in their drug camps, waiting for the chance to strike against USA (As they’ve done many times before)

      But hey, if that makes you feel so good, by all means keep telling yourself that “Venezuelans are a bunch of stupid lefties that deserve chabizmo even when they were completely powerless to stop it before” just as Mr. Mitchell also keeps croaking too.

  14. I often visit your website and have noticed that
    you don’t update it often. More frequent updates
    will give your page higher authority & rank in google.
    I know that writing posts takes a lot of time, but you can always help yourself with miftolo’s tools
    which will shorten the time of creating an article to a few seconds.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here