Photos: Mario Pérez 

“There are no buses anymore,” a colleague told me a few weeks ago. “The only thing I have yet to see are ‘passenger-garbage-trucks,’ because even Corpoelec trucks are doing it.”

Her comment originated from the fact that, in Maracaibo, citizens use the most absurd vehicles to get around: from camiones 350, tow trucks and hearses, to those little trains used for high school or college graduation caravanas.

An option escaped my colleague, though, since it seemed unthinkable back then: military convoys.

On June 5, mayor Willy Casanova announced that 15 units from the Fuerza Armada Nacional Bolivariana will be joining the transport sector and provide free service to “fix the existing deficit.”  

“There are no buses anymore,” a colleague told me a few weeks ago.

This wasn’t the promise he made in December, when he took office promising an “overwhelming change” and 150 new Yutong buses. He asked Nicolás Maduro and the president, allegedly, agreed.

Now, on June 7, he admitted to Fe y Alegría Radio that the crisis is bad (even though he justified with the “economic war” excuse), and said that fixing it could take up to a year.  

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It’s a symphony of mismanagement that has provoked Maracuchos to stand in long lines under the scorching sun, walk long distances to their jobs or simply quit because they can’t honor their responsibilities at work. Some companies, as incentive, have put together the logistics to provide transportation services for their workers, including transporte particular and dorms in the workplace.

They’re also giving additional bonuses to cover transportation fees, since bus drivers charge up to five times the legal fare (you can hardly blame them, a tire may cost up to Bs. 80,000,000, that’s 80 minimum wages),

It’s a symphony of mismanagement that has provoked Maracuchos to stand in long lines under the scorching sun.

“I’m walking every day because public transport near my house is nonexistent, and when we do have it, they charge you whatever they want,” says a 56-year-old teacher who walks Monday to Friday around 2.5 kilometers to get to work. “I must say, my boss always gives me a ride home, me and five other teachers. It’s torture to walk under the sun at that time (1:00 p.m.).”

What scares me isn’t so much the current panorama; it’s the prediction my transportation-deprived colleague made during the conversation at the start of this piece: “We’re going to be like Cuba. We’re going to need bicycles to move.”

“You say it’s free,” the chavista coordinator told me when we were taking the pictures you can see here. “Don’t manipulate saying people pay, ‘cause this is free. You in the opposition lie a lot and see problems in everything.”

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31 COMMENTS

  1. “Don’t manipulate saying people pay, ‘cause this is free. You in the opposition lie a lot and see problems in everything.”

    “What do you see, Mr. Chavista acolyte? Where there used to be cars, buses and taxis are now kennel trucks and pedestrians. What exactly IS Chavismo responsible for? Bolivia has “Bolivarian socialism”, yet they have cars, buses and taxis. Where is the “guerra económica” there?”

    That is a conversation that will never happen between a Chavista and a rational, logical human being, because zealots don’t see and they certainly don’t listen. Like a denier who insists the earth is flat and jets are throwing out tons of “chem trails”, they only have to accuse and never prove. iGuerra económica! iGuerra económica!… all day long until their face turns blue, and never an ounce of proof. But tell the same fanatic that you can’t find a fan belt for your car anywhere at any price and they say, “Prove it!”

    Never get into a fact based discussion on anything with a zealot.

  2. My wife spoke to her brother in VZ last night. A million B’s for a normal size container of butter.

    That must be some fantastic fucking butter!

    • At 2.5M bs to the dollar, that is less than 50 cents. That is a bargain.

      • Is it up to 2.5m now?

        Who can keep up with this?

        And maybe it wasn’t even a container. Maybe just a stick.

        My wife is going through menopause, and these days, the less conversation between us the better.

        Better for me, anyway.

    • It’s margarine; real butter, if available, is usually/always imported, now dollarized/prohibitively expensive; your Bs.1.1 mill margarine is now Bs. 2mm in CCS.

  3. That’s a heck of an offer Ira. Mavesa butter is 1,600,000 here right now IF you can find it. And that’s for the Mavesa “light” which has no flavor, LOL.

    As for the subject of this report, transportation conditions are about the same in Maturin. Last time my woman made the trip she told me she’d never seen so many people being hauled around like cattle on Ford 350’s, even with the cages in place.

    “You say it’s free,” the chavista coordinator told me when we were taking the pictures you can see here. “Don’t manipulate saying people pay, ‘cause this is free. You in the opposition lie a lot and see problems in everything.”

    Free? LOL. Yeah it’s free, only costing the total destruction of your country you stupid mother fucker.

    • My wife isn’t great at explaining things.

      If I now ask her exactly how much he paid for exactly what, she’ll just yell at me with a “What’s the difference” attitude.

      Mind you, she hates Trump, and is rarely grounded in reality when it comes to politics.

  4. At 2.5M bs to the dollar, that is less than 50 cents. That is a bargain.

  5. “…a 56-year-old teacher who walks Monday to Friday around 2.5 kilometers to get to work.”

    Well, what can I say. I walk twice that distance daily, just because my doctor says it is good for me.

    • 2.5 KM? Clearly this person doesn’t know how to properly tell a lie. Had it been me, I would have increased that distance by a factor of 10, and added blizzards and pulling a donkey cart uphill…

    • It’s great to have a doctor who can fix you up when your sick and prescribe medicine that you can buy when you don’t feel well . And to choose to walk or cycle to work ,with food in your belly with a bottle of clean water, in a safe place , when the weather is nice . And to go to a fulfilling job where you get paid enough to provide for your family ….knowing all the people you love are safe and well , finishing exams and getting ready for the summer holidays.

      • True Mick.. but when you once had all that but had to pay for it..

        then a majoriy bought into a political ideology where they should be paid for nothing, and look another free bonus! and everything they have and want should be free.. and when it disappears its because of guerra economica.. wtf dude.. where you going with that?

        Seriously, its so obvious that no one has bothered to explain basic economics.. the oxymoronic “guerra economica”? One has the ability to destroy the other!

        Who does anythng for free? except charity and kindness as JOHN and MR are examples. CC doesn’t even do it for free.. you have to pay to be in the “know”.

        Please Mick, enlighten us..

    • I end up having to walk often due to deficient transport system. It’s not so much the distance that bothers me, but the frigging sun. It also doesn’t help that these days I don’t know if there’ll be running water when I arrive, which is very important for cooling down.

    • MRubio , I live in Ireland . I wouldn’t last long in Venezuela now . I did like living there for a few years but I had to give my kids some security. My wife is from Cuidad Bolivar , which was a paradise not long ago .
      I like reading your comments. , you seem to be a decent man.
      Tired gringo. I doubt I could enlighten you about getting things for free. Hard work and stubbornness is the only way I know to get by .
      I was initially just replying to Lorenzo about his doctor prescribing a 5 km walk. And that it might not be as easy as it seems , when circumstances are go gruelling. Peace

      • Sorry Mick for blowing a gasket.. life is good here, not so for wife’s family.. plenty of thin skin and belly’s to go around, and harder everyday to help those who chose to be left behind. Frustrating and outrageous to watch and listen to el pueblo accept sinking back into 4th world status (medieval ages or Mad Max next?) because they believe in the oxymoronic guerra economica.

  6. Ira was thinking about investing in a donkey breeding farm in Ven. A donkey cart manufacturing company might be worth considering too. Hire some Carpenters and wheelwrights….maybe some leather workers to make harnesses.

  7. The sad/striking thing about the open-truck photo above–not one sad/pissed-off face, in truck or on street, with I’m sure many happy they don’t have to pay for transportation….

    • Chavismo keeps lowering the standards and people’s expectations that they can get away with anything.

      It’s a slow, gradual process, but it seems to work.

      They learned it from Fidel.

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