Photo: Mario Pérez

In 2016, while I was an intern in a Zulian newspaper, I heard the chief editor angrily talk about a community affected by overflowing sewage. He said that he wanted to open the newspaper the next day saying that the neighborhood smelled like shit, “but we can’t go crazy here.”

If he had the same idea today, the headline would be “Maracaibo smells of shit,” because almost every area in the city is affected by this issue that’s ignored by the authorities.

Photo: Mario Pérez

Sewage has been a problem for many years and thousands of Maracuchos have to live with it, due to the city’s disastrous sewer design. In recent months, the situation has gotten much worse and the stories chronicling this tragedy are dramatic: children and elderly citizens getting hepatitis, dengue, diarrhea or scabiosis; people who say that putrid water had come out of the shower as they bathed; folks who can’t leave their homes because sewage has reached the main door, forcing them to build stone paths to go out.

Photo: Mario Pérez

“The smells are unbearable. I just underwent surgery and this is unhealthy, a threat to neighbors,” said Flor Ávila, who lives in the Pueblo Nuevo sector, during an interview in June for the TV show Zulia en Caliente. “This can’t wait because we have an essential right to health, to fresh air and to get out of our homes, because we were trapped yesterday: the house was completely isolated by overflowing sewage.”

“This is depressing, horrible,” said Yolanda Godoy, another neighbor in the area. “The smell is terrible and it reaches the kitchen. We have to close doors and windows to try and placate the smell a bit.”

Photo: Mario Pérez

But this situation doesn’t only affect neighborhoods or slums: it reaches public places too. This is why Sabor Zuliano, a popular restaurant in the region, had to shut down and, in July, patients of Maracaibo’s University Hospital were moved out of the building. Similarly, shop owners in Los Plataneros, a popular market downtown where people can buy plantains for a good price, have denounced more than once how they’ve been exposed to diseases, with the overflowing sewage.

Photo: Mario Pérez

Mayor Willy Casanova has made a habit of repairing some of these sewage leaks, recording and photographing his workers, to set up deceitful press releases about how neighbors were “pleased” (although the issues reappear in the same places). These campaigns are published under the name “Maracaibo reborn!” and we wonder what Casanova means by showing a Maracaibo without sewage leaks, without garbage and with fully functional public services: a city that doesn’t exist.

Photo: Mario Pérez

This sickening show joins others in Zulia’s capital, like non-existent public transport, garbage collection issues, extrajudicial executions and power outages.

“Communism can’t be studied, it must be lived,” said Venezuelan comedian Claudio Nazoa, and what a tough lesson that’s been under the Maracaibo sun.

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31 COMMENTS

  1. It’s official: Klepto-Narco-Cubazuela is among the worst of the worst of the very worst countries in the entire planet, ‘sinking under overflowing sewage’.

    Part of the infamous list of retrograde 5th world under-developed messed-up nation, only found among the very worst Sub-Saharan shithole nations, war-torn crap holes, such as Zimbabwe or Congo. Even worse than the worst in all of Latin America too, since even Haiti – that nightmarish, corrupt tropical hellhole -is arguably a better place to live now than Kleptozuela is.

    Venezuelans themselves, not just Chavistas, often deserve a lot of the credit for such unparalleled accomplishment. Becoming one of the very worts shithole countries on the planet – among the worst of the worst Top Ten List, if you will, right up there with Syria, or Afghanistan and Iraq, even worse than freaking Nicaragua.

    Yes, Pueblo-People, glorioso ‘bravo pueblo’ congratulations! More often than not you are to blame for turning what once a beautiful, rich, prosperous country into the Sewage hellhole of the planet, as the title of this post adroitly addresses. Not all of you, dear mi gente de pueblo, but many deserve exactly what you got: misery, sewage and poverty. Corruption and insecurity. Because many of you, let’s face it, are complicit, corrupt and with zero moral values. And often very, very poorly educated too. Ignorant as hell. And did I say corrupt? Yes, you are. Not all, but a sensible majority of you are. Corrupt to the bone. Puro Guiso. Often complicit with the Genocidal Tyranny. Puro izquierdazo. Lazy too, yes you are. Not all, but many. So welcome to the sewage of the 5th world you yourselves helped create and help maintain in place after 20 years of Chavismo crap. Not all of you, dear pueblo-people, but most of you: Culpable. Si deal with it, and enjoy the shit you often deserve. Unfortunately, there are still a few good, hard-working, honest Venezuelans suffering the consequences of your pathetic corruption, ignorance and complicity. One day you will all pay, dear Pueblo-People. Not all of you, but many. Por flojos, ignorantes y corruptos. Enjoy your sewage.

      • Poory educated populace, massive corruption, zero work ethic, zero moral values, at all levels everywhere = Kleptozuela. Enjoy. Chavismo was just a product of its own pueblo-people, the result. Blame it on previous MUDcraps (AD/Copey).

        Unluckily MPJ lasted less than 5 years, or Klepto-Cubazuela would be better today than Chile after 17 years of Pinochet: educated, hard-working.

        Tragically, that ship sailed long ago. So you have Haiti, Zimbabwe, and Kleptozuela: the sewers of the planet.

      • Jacques, our politically correct troll, please come to Venezuela. This is the raw truth. Venezuela is Kleptozuela. Try employing people and see that half are incompetent and/or cheats. Just try to get anything done here and it will blow your mind how difficult it is to get anything done here. When you have brain drain on the massive scale of Venezuela, this is what you get. Venezuela is Kleptozuela and even if you change this government there will be a huge mess to clean up– which starts by installing moral values among people who lack morals and educating people who are uneducated. Not an easy task and the problem is as cultural as it is political (especially among the “pueblo people”). If Venezuela wants to return to being a prosperous country it must be through middle class values and not a nation of hijo de putas who only raise more malandros and more putas. We got barrio values under Chavez and now the chickens have come home to roost.

        • Right, it all starts with REAL education and tough love, the Rule of Law. Carrots and sticks. Winter time, if available. Until “el pueblo” gets somewhat educated, and smarter. Not dumb and clueless as most Kleptozuelans are. And usually corrupt, and usually lazy. And often complicit with the Genocidal Regime.

          What created Chavismo? Who was Chavez? Who are Masburro, Delcy or TibiBitch? Kleptozuelans. Just like “el pueblo” only less dumb, and a bit more educated. Even Masburro is better educated by now than “el pueblo”. But he’s just as corrupt and clueless plus he’s evil.

          Th MUD? Capriles and shit? CRAP. Part of the problem. Another result of “el pueblo”. Only Leopoldo and MCM are worth anything, and they broke Leopoldo down. The 1300 Military “generals”? Pueblo CRAP. All poorly educated, all corrupt. Just like most pueblo-people.

          Except no one likes to admit when all of Kleptozuela’s crap comes from. It’s own “bravo pueblo”. Clueless, lazy, abysmal moral values , or none. Corrupt. Not all, but most of them.

          That is why Klepto-Narco Cubazuela is where it is: in the SEWER of the world. Worst of the worst. Because its PEOPLE are lamentable. Not just because of Chavismo, which is only a reflection of el pueblo.

          Until you educate “el pueblo”, and send them to jail when they steal or misbehave, and force them to WORK, honestly, Kleptozuela is royally screwed, worse than Haiti. Coz its people suck. Not all, but most of’em. Face it.

  2. These campaigns are published under the name “Maracaibo reborn!”

    Yeah, only problem is that they’re leaving the after-birth in the streets to rot.

  3. MRubio, how are things looking for being able to buy corn at harvest? I hope you have nailed down a supplier or two. Have you been able to buy hogs yet?

    • Tom, it’s kinda dicey right now.

      The guy from whom we bought last year planted 40 hectares about 3 weeks ago had plans to plant an additional 40. However, he delivered platanos the other day and told me that his crop looks terrible, poor soil, needs fertilizer (which he’s having trouble finding), needs rain, and he’s thinking of either plowing it under and starting over, or perhaps doing nothing at all. Bad news no matter how you slice it.

      Farther out, there are a couple of farms that have a decent-size planting, maybe a 100 hectares or so, and the crop looked really good when I last saw it about a week ago. I don’t know the owners but have contact with a guy who says both are friends of his. He’s promised to contact them but at this point that’s all I have. It’s going to take weekly effort on my part or else the chance will slip away.

      The Brazilians supposedly planted corn well away from the national highway (probably too much theft last year) but I have no contacts with them. I’ll get those contacts as a last resort and hope for the best.

      It’s going to be a challenge this year. These producers know there’s very little crop planted and will have their choice of ooth clients and pricing. If I get an offer from someone serious, I’m not going to try to beat them up on price. I need the product. Plans this year are to not only store the product, but to process it here at the house with a trilladora and accumulate the processed corn in plastic drums. I’ve got capacity right now for about 50,000 kilos raw, and 10,000 kilos processed. I’m also looking at adding some capacity for raw corn. Just hoping I don’t buy extra capacity and then have zero product.

      I’ll keep ya posted.

      • MRubio
        How are you doing? I tried to call back but the phone service isn’t working.
        I saw this in Aporrea today and it has me thinking.
        https://www.aporrea.org/economia/n330859.html
        Does Venezuela have a functioning banking system that extends credit? If it does, I would think that people would take the largest loan possible, use it to buy Dollars, wait a while and sell some of the Dollars for enough Bolivars version 3.0 to pay the loan.
        In essence you are shorting the Bolivar.

        • John, I have no idea if the banks are still giving credit. Like everything else in this country, the only way to get it is to have the right connections AND pay someone off. Long ago I made an attempt to do it honestly but the requests for documents, government permission forms from agencies I’d hever heard of, and the constant requests for up-front payment were more than I could stomach. I finally gave up and invested my own money.

          I will say this. Never in my life have I worked in a country that throws up more roadblocks to those who wish to produce than I have seen here in Venezuela. And for the record, I ran successful companies in such bastians of capitalism as Russia, China, Angola, and Kazakhstan, just to name a few.

          • MR
            Wow! You have been around the globe. Was that all in the oil industry?
            I can’t decipher the statement from the BCV. I think they are saying that their reserves will be 100%. If that is true, they aren’t loaning any money. The banks must be living on fees. This doesn’t make sense. With hyperinflation, I have no idea how you set interest rates.
            Anyone that thinks our Fed chairman talks in circles needs to read this.
            “The Official Gazette No. 41,472, dated August 31 of this year, states in Resolution No. 18-08-01 that “… The universal and microfinance banks (…) must maintain a special reserve, in addition to the ordinary reserve must be in accordance with the provisions of the Resolution of the Board of Directors of the Central Bank of Venezuela No. 14-03-02 of March 13, 2014, equal to 100% of the increase in surplus bank reserves at the close of August 31, 2014 2018. ”

            The text details what is understood as surplus bank reserves at the close of August 31, 2018, “the balance maintained in the single account in the Central Bank of Venezuela, deducting the ordinary reserve fund corresponding to said date”.
            “It also indicates that the resolution enters into force today, September 3, 2018.

            However, it is important to point out that, in the aforementioned official gazette, it is established in the first article of resolution 18-08-01 of the BCV dated August 28, that the increase in the legal reserve does not refer to 100% of the Deposits received by the bank as of September 1, but said 100% will be applied to the increase in surplus bank reserves at the end of August 31, 2018, so the authorities should clarify this situation, since there is a great difference between what was pointed out by the president of the BCV and that indicated in the official gazette, while the impacts are very different in banking.

            The president of the BCV expressed that it is “an anti-inflationary measure, which is in tune with the economic recovery plan and that will lead to price stability and wage protection.”

            I don’t know why there is a distinction between August 28 and September 1. Something must have happened like the final looting of foreign reserves by the regime. It just sounds like a bunch of doublespeak. How this is going to be “anti-inflationary”, I’d like to know.
            I just got done canning the first batch of tomatoes from the garden. I’ll try to send a jar of sauce in the next shipment.

          • Apparently the banks will need to have 100% of deposits in reserve.
            Perhaps the intent is to create more money for the reserves. Otherwise there will be no credit available.
            The regime will never solve any of the problems for one simple reason. The regime is the problem.

            Calling these people morons is an insult to stupid people everywhere.

            http://www.noticierodigital.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=107773

            “Angelica Antía Azuaje / photo: @BCV_ORG_VE / 3 Aug 2018.- The president of the Central Bank of Venezuela, Calixto Ortega Sánchez, informed on Monday that the board of the issuing entity agreed to bring the legal reserve of public and private banks to 100% of the deposits you receive as of September 1.

            “We will take the legal reserve of commercial banks, public and private, to 100% of the deposits that will be received from September 1. This will be published in the Official Gazette today,” he said. “

  4. I watched, en vivo, the régimen ignoring good environmental practices within the oilfields for expedience of a barrel today. We’ve all read about the pollution in lago maracaibo, and toxic waste and overflowing lago valencia.. and el pueblo did nothing. Now it backs up to enter their front door and… nothing but bitch about it. Maybe when the sewage of chavismo creeps through the front door and they’re ankle deep they will do something besides make another cola for the next freebie. I doubt it.

    • This is actually a very important point. The amount of oil spilled is a sign of inneficient methods and lack of technology.

      The rate at which you need to extract more oil in order to overcome sloooy losses only gets worse. It’s like a plastic bag with a hole that gets bigger as you fill it with more liquid.

      No company wants to come back into VZ and has to deal with the cleanup before getting one drop of oil from some of the fields. And then you are nearly certainly. To get hit with a lawsuit claiming you were at fault in the first place.

      This is how they get to hold your people and equipment ransom if you dare leave or don’t pay enough kickbacks.

  5. “THE GOVERMENT SHOULD DO SOMETHING!” I wonder how many of these situations would be improved if the affected parties took an active role in improving their lot. Around 1990 the street on which my family’s house in Caracas was built was suffering about a car robbery every week, so the 100+ houses decided to (completely illegally) close off the street and build a guard house at the entrance of the street. Car robberies dropped to zero overnight.

  6. What Davy said.

    These are ripe conditions for an outbreak of cholera or typhoid. The Chavistas have completely shined on maintaining everything from the power grid to Guri to the metro to the roads to water purification to (fill in the blank), one wonders when one of these facilities goes down, and goes down hard (like a national blackout), how quickly the situation will get away from the Bus Driver and professional help will be indicated – for both Maduro AND the country. These are no longer alarmist thoughts.

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