Photos and videos: Mario Pérez

“Oh God! The queues are back! But why? The products cost the same,” an aunt wondered near Maracaibo’s Centro 99, days after Nicolás Maduro’s controversial economic measures were announced, which among other things, include regulated prices for some basic food basket items and a 35-fold hike of the minimum wage.

New fixed prices have been announced for products such as rice, pasta or butter.

New fixed prices have been announced for products such as rice, pasta or butter which, curiously and magically reappeared in supermarket shelves, accompanied by a Bs.S. 600 “economic transition bonus” granted by the government through the carnet de la patria. Several citizens consulted by Radio Fe y Alegría said that they were indeed buying products with said bonus. In any case, long lines are back in Zulia’s capital.

Throughout the years, Venezuela has been recognized for baseball players and beauty queens. Now, it’s all about the long queues caused by shortages and misery left by 21st century socialism, imposed by Hugo Chávez and carried out by Maduro.

Gas service line, Maracaibo

Queues had gone down in Maracaibo in the last couple of months and they were seen only in stores which rarely sold regulated products. The shelves of small and large stores are solely filled with imported products from Colombia and Brazil, with prices far above those of national products and only available for citizens who make more than the minimum wage or receive money from people abroad.

But now, the dreaded long lines are back. They can be seen in any corner and, due to SUNDDE’s constant harassment, they will probably stay with us for an indefinite period of time. It’s still unclear whether authorities will sanction or jail shop owners selling imported products, which have already vanished in the first few days after the Madurazo, as panicked citizens buy everything they can.

The shelves of small and large stores are solely filled with imported products from Colombia and Brazil, with prices far above those of national products.

Lines for products are long, but queues for services seem endless. Gas stations, ATMs and banks are filled with people waiting due to the electric crisis. A co-worker tells me that he spends two to three hours a day in ATMs so he can withdraw Bs.S. 10 (ten bus fares). He says that he goes to the bank every day, because he can buy cheaper food in cash. Banks had been seeing heavy traffic when pensioners had to collect their payments, but now lines are getting longer, mainly because ATMs started dispensing Bs.S. 10 instead of Bs.S. 0,40. Now some citizens believe trading time of their day for more cash is a worthy sacrifice.

“Everything’s cheaper if you pay cash,” a lady told us when we were making the photoreport. In downtown Maracaibo, there’s a popular market called Las Pulgas, where people can buy food 50 times cheaper than in traditional shops… if they pay cash.

Zulia doesn’t escape from the cash shortages that threaten the entire country, but since it’s a border state, cash is frequently sold in Colombian currency exchange offices, where business is generally conducted by Venezuelans who send what they can to their relatives.

The new monetary cone’s banknotes can be bought for up to 900% their value.

The new monetary cone’s banknotes can be bought for up to 900% their value and, since the cone started circulating, dozens of people have been arrested for using more than one card when withdrawing money in ATMs.

The ghost of queues has come back to torment maracuchos, who are utterly helpless against communism. How long will they get before there is nothing left to buy?

 

 

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11 COMMENTS

  1. They just get back in line thinking there must be something of value waiting for them at the front..

    After years and years of standing front-to-back, I wonder if even one of them will reflect back to what their life would be today, what might have happened if they’d stood shoulder-to-shoulder?

    • Absolutely, it’s mind-boggling the difference in the Pueblo attitudes between, say, the Ukraine, and Venezuela, the latter where people literally will suffer any unmentionable abuse, lie down and die, before they will rise up and fight, for their rights, and even physical survival.

  2. Just like Cubans. An older population, tired, demoralized, clueless zombies and sheep, standing in line. Most of them, not all. Zombies and sheep. Many complicit and corrupt, too.

    The final stages of Kleptozuela’s full Cubanization. That’s all. Even Maracuchos and Gochos from el Tachira. The feistiest of Venezuelans. They all gave up, or fled the country. Many are just too old and weak, many just too young and grew up within Chavismo: they hardly know of a better life. Just like Cubans. Sheep, zombies, ignorant, often corrupt, or just old and tired. The master plan working to perfection.

    In a few decades those remaining zombies and sheep might be almost as prosperous as the Chinese or the Russians by the countryside. Or as happy as the submissive Cuban populace of today. Perhaps even better off than Haitians or Congolese people. Que molleja, maracuchos, parecen obejas cubanas ustedes tambien.
    Zero guaramo, cero rebelion, pero eso si, mucha complicidad. Igualito que los Cubanos.

  3. The ubiquitous queue. A sign of civilization and common courtesy.

    When people stop queuing and start mobbing, then you will know the end is near.

    But then, Maduro and Delcy and Tarek and Jorge and Diosdado will come out with another “Plan of the New Fatherland” and things will settle (after all, didn’t Saint Hugo anoint Maduro?) for a month or so, until the next riot.

    Rinse.

    Repeat.

    • Oh, if Chavismo taught Venzuelans anything, it’s how to politely wait in line. The soldiers helped.

      Before Hugo, when things were good, they didn’t have a fucking clue on how to politely wait in even a tiny line for their turn. It was a disgusting and disturbing trait of Venezolanos that I could never understand.

      I got into a shitload of fights with these dickheads about this, with my wife always kept saying, “That’s just how it is here.”

      Simply wonderful.

  4. Prez-of-uela struggles 2 keep the country from stink.
    He maximized Sovereign b.s. to prop minimum wages.
    He promised dignity, independence, glory and hope.
    But the emp wore no clothes, his whordes sense
    the bull shit, the turds and farts.
    Being a prez of a shithole won’t make him
    Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar Palacios Ponte y Blanco.
    Leave the shithole now, PLEASE.
    Let the Sanitary Brigade in!

    • He can’t leave. The Revolution needs him.

      People are born to suffer. The are born, they suffer and then they die. But the Revolution must go on! THAT is what is important.

      Maduro must remain in power for the same reason that American politicians are opposed to term limits… they have become addicted to political power and cannot see a world without them as the standard bearer. It doesn’t matter a lick that they are useless, or worse, a cancer.

      What matters to the Maduro’s of the world transcends decency and virtue.

  5. “maracuchos, who are utterly helpless against communism”

    BS, It’s this thinking that keeps Chavismo in power.

    Viva el Pendejo Cobarde Pueblo, Viva CubaZuela

  6. “A co-worker tells me that he spends two to three hours a day … every day, …”

    So co-worker doesn’t have much time for actual work after the lines for cash, groceries, transportation, etc. And GDP approaches zero. Castro laughs hysterically.

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