Photo: retrieved

“After working all my life it’s hard to be a beggar,” Mr. Antonio said to me.

He’s 86 years old, his hair is white and his face full of wrinkles. He was born in Barinas but came to Caracas when he was 15 years old. When he was 30, he already had a small painting company with four employees and a lot of work. He got married, had two children, a nice house and a car. Now, he survives thanks to the money that his children send him from abroad. “It’s an uncomfortable situation, I’m a burden now,” he said.

“Venezuela used to be the land of opportunities. I didn’t have much, but my children were clean and well fed. They both went to college. Back then, if you worked enough, you could have a future. Now there’s no future ahead,” he said, remembering the “old Venezuela”.  

Currently, he lives alone and he sold the family house some time ago. Now he lives in a small apartment; his wife died and his kids, all grown up now, are in Ecuador and USA. Both send money, when they can, to help their father. “Medicines are expensive, food is expensive and the pension is a joke,” he said to me in tears, in front of the bakery where he used to get his daily cup of coffee, now a forgotten luxury.

Since last week, the pensioners took to the streets to protest and ask for better benefits.

Senior citizens are dealing with the crisis with an insufficient pension, an absent family and without medicines. Our abuelitos have been forgotten amidst the crisis.

Since last week, unlike students and politicians, the pensioners took to the streets to protest and ask for better benefits. They require payment of the pension in cash, better distribution of medicine and access to adequate healthcare.

The protests started after a confusing announcement from Maduro, where he said that only pensioners with the carnet de la patria would be able to receive their pensions. A day before, Maduro said that the payment would happen through the Billetera Digital. The Billetera Digital is a platform to transfer payments through the carnet de la patria. To register for this virtual wallet, you must provide your ID number and carnet de la patria code. Logically, this implied that those who didn’t have the carnet wouldn’t receive their pension.

Senior citizens were upset with this imposed measure. “What can I do? Where do I go? Nobody listens to us anymore. It’s been 15 days since I received my money. I have to beg my friends and family for money to survive. The government has taken away the little we had. I feel I will die on the street,” a pensioner said in a video that went viral on Twitter.

“Should I get the carnet?” asks my neighbor, “It’s not fair, it’s criminal. I already have my ID!” she complains to me in the hallway, “I worked my whole life for my pension, that’s not a gift, it’s my right”.


Days later, the government said that it was all part of a big confusion and part of a media manipulation strategy. Turns out, elders don’t need the carnet to get their pension.

But the fight was not over…

According to the new economic measures announced by Maduro, elders are going to receive a monthly payment of Bs.S. 1.800… but they have only received Bs.S. 190 so far. “What can I do with that? Pay for a carton of eggs! I will spend the last years of my life living in complete misery,” my neighbor complained again.

“This isn’t enough for food or medicine,” says a grandmother in a grotesque line at a bank. After she left the bank she went to help a friend clean her shop. “She doesn’t pay me, but I can have lunch and dinner,” she explains. Even pensioners have to look for a tigrito in order to survive the crisis.

Elders are going to receive a monthly payment of Bs.S. 1.800… but they have only received Bs.S. 190 so far.

Maduro also blames senior citizens for the shortage of cash. “Some pensioners use their cash to sell it to the Colombian mafias,” Maduro said. “Do you think I have time to do that? I use the cash to buy food for a better price! In popular markets the prices are lower if you pay in cash instead of paying with a debit card.

“We have to keep protesting with the little strength we have left, there’s nothing else to do,” said an old man standing patiently in line.  

Venezuela is no country for old men.


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  1. “Venezuela is no country for old men.”

    Perfect line.

    Every single time my woman makes the trip to Punta de Mata the first thing she tells me upon her return is how long the line of elderly was at Banco Bicentenario where pensioners are trying to withdraw cash. Day after day…..sometimes even over night.

    • “No country for old men”
      Great line from that movie. The sheriff and deputy are looking over the scene of a a drug deal gone bad in the desert of West Texas. Dead guys laying everywhere. The deputy says to the the sheriff (Tommy Lee Jones), “Sheriff, it’s a hell of a mess ain’t it ?”
      The sherrif replies, “If it ain’t it will do til the mess gets here!”

      It the situation in Venezuela is not a mess it will do til the mess gets there!

        • What the hell do you know about America’s greatest writer?

          You’re not even a damn American.

          You never fail to disgust me and others with a brain.

          • Seriously, take a deep breathe not everyone is impressed by your rage towards Canucklehead. If you cared to accurately read and comprehend his comments once in a while you would realize he is not a sympathizer of the regime.

          • Waltz,

            I’m not a marriage counselor, although I have stayed in a couple of holiday inns. Cnuckles decided to call Ira (and others) a lot of racist and ageist epithets, in particular, for whatever reason, that he hates and does not approve of white men married to Venezuelan woman.

            Ira apparently takes Canuckles’ racist diatribes personally, and he lashes out in ways that make no sense to someone who did not witness the underlying insults.

            Whatever. It’s the internet.

          • Waltz, not only is he a confused sympathizer of the regime, he actually has the balls to claim who America’s greatest writer is, and he’s Canadian.

            He’s a fucking jerk.

          • That I “don’t approve of white men being married to Venezuelan women” takes the cake as the most ridiculous misstatement of anything I’ve written here that I have seen from you pack of alt right mischief makers…besides the ridiculous “ageist” thing. My you are an aggrieved and sensivitve bunch of men who are older, angry, white, and have Venezuelan spouses (except Tom from Oklahoma, whose spouse is from Colombia I think).

            Are you at least men, or are you children?

          • @Canucklehead:

            “That I “don’t approve of white men being married to Venezuelan women” takes the cake as the most ridiculous misstatement of anything I’ve written here”

            Well, you certainly have tricked a lot of people here on this forum into believing that you do take umbrage with gringos being married to latinas? I wonder how THAT happened? Must of been something WE wrote, eh Mac?

            Perfect Marxist. Blame everyone else.

          • If Ira applied his his “logic” to himself that he demands of Canuck he needs to stop commenting about Venezuela because he not Venezuelan. He is one weird dude that Ira.

          • @Kool Aid Kid: Some of us aren’t Venezuelan. We only have Venezuelan connections by marriage, friends or family.

            My wife and extended family are originally from Venezuela.

            I think anyone who cares about Venezuela ought to comment. Even Canadians whose only connection with Chavist Venezuela is the mutual adoration of Karl Marx.

        • Canuck wrote:

          “That I “don’t approve of white men being married to Venezuelan women” takes the cake as the most ridiculous misstatement of anything I’ve written here that I have seen from you pack of alt right mischief makers…besides the ridiculous “ageist” thing. My you are an aggrieved and sensivitve bunch of men who are older, angry, white, and have Venezuelan spouses (except Tom from Oklahoma, whose spouse is from Colombia I think).

          Are you at least men, or are you children?”

          What the hell are you taking about in reference to this thread here? How the hell can you go so ridiculously off-topic?

          Pay attention, asshole. Some of us don’t have the time to waste on your fucking irrelevant idiocy.

  2. My in-laws are elderly put still practicing medical doctors, much needed these days in Venezuela. The income they make from their practice is insufficient to put food on the table and take care of normal necessities. They are lucky, they have savings in US dollars.

  3. Part of the sinister Chino/Russian/Cuban Master Plan, working to perfection in Klepto-Narco Cubazuela.

    Once you’ve kicked out most of the young, vibrant, dangerous, productive population, you have a country of Enchufados, Clueless, uneducated Zombies and older people. An much older population, since every young person with some energy gets the hell out. As planned. The more, the merrier, unless they are part of the Criminal Narco Regime. (Just like Cuba, which has an old decrepit populace, while the young sheep are mostly corrupt, blind, indoctrinated/brainwashed and/or Enchufados).

    Then the young, educated, productive young exiles start sending billions of USD and Euros (remesas) back to Kleptozuela. Which are expeditiously diverted and stolen in large part, feeding the Chabestia machinery. That way, they can concentrate on the Massive DRUG TRADE, which produces much more stolen easy money than oil (owned by the russians and chinese, anyway). The exiled young people do the all the work overseas, sending tons of cash back to the Klepto-Cubazuelan Voragine, while top Chavistas focus on Drugs, Gold or Petro scams, Financial ruses, Food Mega-Guisos, juicy deals with the chinese, etc.

    Third added benefit: The old can be very easily subdued, ya no patalean. “The opposition” is much older.

    Win-win-win formula, part of the final phase of the Klepto-Cubazuelan Master Plan, working to perfection. Soon, after the THIRD decade of Chavismo is completed, the entire populace will probably have aged 10-15 years itself. While the young being born into the system are readily brain-washed with tropicalized communist propaganda. Perfecto, camarada.

    • Maduro: “We gotta sell some of that gold fast. We have a huge bill to pay.”

      Underling: “But jefe, you stole the gold and transferred the money to your secret accounts.”

      Maduro: “Nonsense! I only took a billion.”

      Underling: “Yeah, but you did it five times.”

  4. The pensions are yet another institution that was already in place when Galactica took office. Because it involved the transfer of money from their (the government) hands to the old folks, the distribution of said funds got politicized, bungled, looted and now, has trickled to a pittance. Fucking criminal, that. No shame at the top.

    And if they don’t pony up that 200 million on Thursday I’ll bet Conoco is gone.

    • If Conoco falls into this late payment, anything to recoup their losses acceptance, fuck them.

      VZ shouldn’t be allowed one DAY of grace to make payment.

  5. “I worked my whole life for my pension, that’s not a gift, it’s my right”.

    “Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper’s bell of an approaching looter.”
    ― Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

    “Freedom (n.): To ask nothing. To expect nothing. To depend on nothing.”
    ― Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

    “Let me give you a tip on a clue to men’s characters: the man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it.”
    ― Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

  6. I only read the first 4 paragraphs and already felt so gutted/sad/angry/disappointed and several uncomfortable feelings that I stopped reading the rest. I just don’t understand the 26-28 million Venezuelans that are left in the country who are allowing this the happen and continue. Shame on all and every single soul the lives in Venezuela today, YOU ARE ALL TO BLAME!! Spineless cunts every single one of you!!!!!

  7. The Marxist playbook insists that someone is to blame. Because Marxism = perfection. It simply has no downside… as long as everyone buys into it. “Faith” is what has kept Marxism alive for so long. In the United States, Marxism is like a religion to people like Bernie Sanders and the latest incarnation in New York City.

    If there is a failure, it isn’t because of Marxism, but because of Capitalism.

  8. “I worked my whole life for my pension, that’s not a gift, it’s my right”


    Pensions (by definition) belong to someone else. They are a promise of future payments, offered by thieves, not a “right”.


    Eastern Airlines. When they went Tango Uniform years ago, what is the first thing the debt holders went after? THE PENSION FUND. Why? Because that is where the money is! “WAIT!” you scream… “THAT PENSION BELONGS TO THE WORKER!” No, it doesn’t. The pension is an asset of the company, and any asset can and will be seized by debt holders. “Your” pension is only guaranteed by the PBGC, as quasi-governmental agency that insures it for pennies on the dollar. (Psst… ask the Teamsters!)

    Another example is the beloved Social Security Trust. “I’ve contributed to it all my life! I’ve earned it!” the oldsters howl! Problem? The US Supreme Court says otherwise. Fleming V. Nestor, 1960. Congress can use that money however they want (they have) and can withhold benefits at their whim (they do). EVERY DIME EVER COLLECTED HAS BEEN SPENT, and legally, you are not owed a single cent of it.

    This is what happens when you trust someone else with YOUR wealth.

    • Guapo,

      My 79 year old mostly “conservative” mom hates (HATES) the term “entitlement” given to social security, because she sees this term a pejorative to old folks who “earned” it through a lifetime of payments. But, are said old folks “entitled” to receive the checks? Of course.

      Venezuela follow the same model as the US. Don’t have enough money to cover your spending? Just print it. Is nothing more than a tax on society. Venezuelans are paying the currency printing tax hard. US printing tax has been more gradual. Rate of inflation roughly equals the tax rate. Just no forms to fill out, and is the one tax that everyone pays in their own way through increased cost of living.

      • I don’t understand when the word “entitlement” became a pejorative. I see this repeated all the time. Older people yelling that their SS and Medicare is NOT an entitlement because they paid for it.

        It is exactly an entitlement. They are entitled to benefits. You can look the word up int the dictionary. There is no better noun in the English language that describes the benefits.

        Somehow in recent history the phrase “undeserved entitlement”, which is pejorative, became just “entitlement”.

        • Ron,
          I hear you. Want to argue semantics with a bunch of old folks in my mom’s retirement community? Would be like teaching a pig to read. Wastes your time, and annoys the pig.

        • Agreed. Semantics are so important to a lot of people, but when it comes down to it, Social Security is a state sponsored Ponzi scam*. But God forbid you use that term. And if you explain to them that their SS benefits aren’t “theirs”? Prepare for a glorious uproar.

          A link from the source: Our own Federal governments Social Security website

          “Entitled” is right up there with the euphemisms “owed” and “earned”. No… you are not owed a Social Security benefit. You haven’t earned a Social Security benefit. What you have done is PAID a tax that comes out of your wages in the hopes that you will see some sort of future benefit from known liars and thieves.

          *The only difference is that SS is not voluntary the way a Ponzi scam is. A pure Ponzi scam is based on greed. Social Security is based on willful ignorance of the voting public.

  9. It seems to me that over the years the funds in the SSA have basically become a big “cookie jar” for the government. Whenever they feel the need they can grab a big hand full of cash and just drop an IOU into the cookie jar.
    I was discussing this with a friend a few years ago during dark days in the oil & gas sector. Savings, modest investments, jobs were all being affected. The outlook was rather bleak. My friend John said to me, “Tom, I have been to a lot of funerals over the years but I have never been to one where the person starved to death.”

    That still holds true here in the U.S. but, unfortunately, the same won’t hold true in Venezuela.


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