miércoles, 9 de agosto de 2017

Wheat got over for the day

I believe when Axl starts singing Estranged, he says something like: when you’re talking to yourself and nobody is home. Good. I’m talking to myself just now. I’m not at home but I think I’m pretty much alone, and I put it this way because There’s something I’d like to say and no one can hear it. Let’s see…

Two men were standing on a line to buy some bread – and this is accurate to imply. Not because its importance but because its relation. So here it is: a teacher told me once that we, the Venezuelans, have a port style economy. He meant we tend to consume what it’s brought from the sea. Well, literally, all our north long is a coast; we have a large extension of the Caribbean Sea in front of us... I wrote what I just wrote because wheat does not precisely grow here. We’ve been importing it since who knows when, and the waiting lines for buying bread are usually so long that bakeries run out of it far before reaching the last costumers. I also need to imply that most of the people who wait for bread are poor. Bakeries offer some other type of breads which costs are unaffordable to them. The people who wait, do it for a specific type of bread which quality is obviously lower than the unaffordable ones… This situation started just about four years ago and it had gone worse since then – they didn’t know each other but it is a common habit nowadays to chat while waiting, especially because people may spend, with some luck, about an hour. Not a lucky day that day. They were talking about the opposition followers. They began mocking them because their leaders announced a six hours Trancazo from noon until six in the afternoon. A Trancazo is a way for protesting against the government which have become popular recently. It consists in blocking (with garbage bags, tree branches, trash or wasted things) the main streets of several neighborhoods and avenues. It paralyzes the city, mostly for those who move by car or bus. The two man at the bakery were laughing because the stupidity oppositionists show by doing that. They lock themselves, they claimed in smiles. Some personnel of the bakery came out and said they ran out of bread, so the people remaining on the line – the two men included – started yelling and complaining. Another man from the bakery came out a while later and said if they behave; if they wait patiently, there would more bread within an hour. And there were, but just until the lady before the two man. Wheat got over for the day… 

lunes, 7 de agosto de 2017

The Dependents

A new week has begun. Many of us got addicted to social networks, to TV shows; to vividly things without experienced them. That’s Caracas nowadays. No, not exactly. It is accurate to bring up some aspects: I am quite sure – at least I believe so – that our society has two important divisions which I’ll call: dependent and not dependent ones. What is it to depend on? On The State, on its administration, on its executive orders. You might wonder why if everyone sounds like to depend, but they aren’t. In Venezuela everyone does not depend on The State and this is what I want to imply: there is a very small and exclusive part of the population who have access to dollars and therefore do business with it. The issue with the dollar is that we live under a system which name in English could be: Currency Exchange Control, I’ll call it State Control over the Economy at Currency Exchange. It means that if any Venezuelan needs, wants, wishes, or has to travel and of course, shop and pay abroad, there has to be a sort of authorization from The State in order to do so, and getting authorized requires some considerations I’ll leave to a future post. The important thing from this is that the government – Yes, the government – decides how much a dollar worth in bolívares and how many of those dollars a Venezuelan is allowed to receive.

Over the last nine years the amount has been lower and lower and several restrictions were imposed whatsoever. Now The Dependents – where I’m in obviously, otherwise I won’t be complaining – must go to the so called Black Market, where one dollar equals almost twenty thousand bolívares; an amount that takes about two days’ work to get. This is how we live but... I started mentioning a very small and exclusive part of the population who have access to dollars and therefore do business with it. These people dominate the black market, these people are responsible of bringing food and supplies to the country, these people – although thousands of denials – are part of the government and in the name of the revolution, in the name of the eternal battle against imperial forces from the global right wings (wherever it is or whoever they are) and in the name of the freedom, we’ve been forced to depend on them.

The Dependents have their own scale. It’s not bold to say we have our divisions: The very poor ones; which just go for being fed at any ideological cost, the ones who support the government, the ones who don’t, and the remaining little merchants as to speak. Always arguing each other and fighting one another. Why? For whom instead. We set violent debates for the not dependent ones due to the group who support them and because of this claim that the crisis is not their fault. I don’t think so, but this is how we spend many of the days while getting poorer and they; they get richer. A new week has begun. Many of us got addicted to social networks, to TV shows; to vividly things without experienced them. That’s Caracas nowadays     

jueves, 3 de agosto de 2017

That’s us!

I always stop by and try to leave something useful, amusing perhaps but I don´t. It does not happen. I’m not supposed to be writing indeed but here I am; using the few words in English I think I know. 

Someone wrote that the lambs went to vote for the plebiscite last July the 16th; and with lambs he meant all those who want Maduro out. He wrote lambs with a certain pejorative try like we were just headless followers who don´t think and just obey the opposition representatives. We’re the lambs, right! 

Someone else wrote that the opposition wanted their dead; yes, their dead. The surely not-lamb-ones see one another with a kind of skeptical (and therefore, of course) interesting touch. Those ones, who claim eleven million citizens went (and here yes) to their rehearsal the same day, who claim that their National Constituent Assembly will solve all the problems because now on every single issue Venezuelans have will be a command in the next constitution. I wonder why State don´t begin by complying the current commands. Instead, they want to change the whole book, the whole law. 

Today it is the third day of august. Four days after the not-lamb-ones’ election. Eight million voters they claimed but no one believed for a simple fact: it is impossible that after losing the former election (because around five million vote for them) they now overcome with three million more considering the country is in its worst time ever, ever, ever… 

As I started saying, I’m not supposed to be writing. In fact the first two paragraphs came on two weeks ago. Since then I’ve been just letting the days pass by with a lot to yell but nothing to say. 

And I say nothing because no one cares. We are living under a time in which every person speaks only for itself. I’ve had a lot of talking with people I care about; I listen to them: If it´s worrying; I get worry, if it’s  good things; I get happy for it, but when I tell them something – something of their talk, not something about myself – they don´t listen. I think people need a pair of eyes and ears paying attention just to feel comfortable at talking. 

People need to feel heard but in a one way direction. Let’s say I just want to be heard without listening or something like that… 

Yesterday I was watching how a person simply doesn’t care about the one who’s with. I was having a cup of coffee (which means luxury nowadays here in Caracas) I was having a milky coffee, I was reading some news I got distracted by a couple sitting on the table in front. I looked at them, pretty; both: he was trying to understand what’s being broadcasted on TV and she was staring at the cell phone. Maybe, just maybe around ten minutes went by and they didn’t say a word to each other. I could see him looking at her, waiting, waiting for her to look back but it didn’t happen, at least it didn’t happen when he was aware. She saw him, she saw him watching the program, maybe wondering why he smiled but without trying to understand the program. I said to myself he could be me, any of them actually. How many times have I expected a reply when I’m taking, what I’m talking about? How many times? I don’t know. Now I write and pretend there’s someone reading this. I’m now in an open space office. My boss can easily see everything I’m writing but she doesn’t understand English, not that I know so far. It will be funny realizing this is well understood but I trust myself. Besides, this is sort of therapeutic…  

You may probably know of this way we’re being provided with groceries. Venezuelans (some, not all, and it is an issue of course) must pay a fee – a very cheap one, but still – we must pay a fee for getting a box with some food supplies, which prices, in the free market, are much higher; let’s say this is what the government came up to deal with the economic war they invented and many believe. This is the thing: there will be a riot tomorrow, let’s not call it a coup, let´s better say a protest: there’ll be a protest against the government tomorrow (there’s been a lot of protests since 2014)  but tomorrow it will be one of these days in which the government is delivering the food boxes... People need it, many are starving, therefore poor ones, Maduro supporters or not, will not attend at the protest, they´re going to be waiting on line for a box of food. And maybe, in order to keep this war going on, boxes won’t be delivered… That’s us!