In an article titled “Caracas: Eleven Hours to Buy MeatEl Mundo tells the story of Carla Aguirre, a Caracas resident, as she tried to buy meat on day.

The article states that Carla began to line up outside the Mercal in La Trinidad at around 6:00 on a recent Tuesday hoping to buy beef at Bs. 600/kilogram (in a privately owned supermarket, beef sells for around Bs. 1,200/kilogram). At 3:48 PM, she left the supermarket empty handed after spending most of the day in line.

Carla told El Mundo that she earns “a bit more” than minimum wage, which currently sits at Bs. 7,421.66 per month ($10.96 at the current black market rate of Bs. 676), so she must be very careful with her spending:

I live with two other people who don’t work: my daughter and my mother. We buy three kilograms of meat every two weeks. I can’t afford to pay more for it.

In the same article, El Mundo reports that by 4:00 PM, the freezers in the La Trinidad Mercal “looked desolate”; only “second-rate” ground beef remained, and the smell in the supermarket was “nauseating“.

At the same Mercal, a woman named Sabrina was lucky enough to buy a beef and chicken combo platter for Bs. 1,050. However, she complained about the ordeal:

You have to line up for hours and if you don’t find anything, you have to buy it from re-sellers who sell shampoo for Bs. 600.

El Mundo also claims to have been met with hostility from a shopper at the Bicentenario in Las Mercedes, Caracas. Once its reporter started trying to take pictures of the lines outside the supermarket, an elderly woman who had been in line for eleven hours allegedly told them:

If you take pictures, we’ll throw rocks at you. We are Chavistas here. Maduro is the one who gives us food.

Families Evicted from Panamericana Face Uncertain Future

National Guard soldiers escorted some of the approximately 140 families evicted from their makeshift homes along a stretch of the Panamericana highway in Caracas last week to a temporary shelter inside a warehouse in El Cementerio on Thursday. 27 families were denied access to the shelter since they had found a place to stay with other relatives or friends.

One of the affected individuals told El Nacional that they have not been told how long they will stay in the shelter. There is no running water or medical services in the warehouse, and there is no official word on when – or if – the families will be relocated to more permanent facilities. The families spent six days sleeping on the street in the area near their former homes. El Nacional reports that they managed to improvise shelters with cardboard.

The evictions took place last week to make room for the construction of the Hugo Chavez Park.

La Patilla uploaded a video to YouTube today showing families protesting outside the Ministry of Housing and Habitat offices in Caracas. In the video, seen below, a woman speaks to a La Patilla reporter about her family’s ordeal. It is not immediately clear if the people in the video are the ones who were evicted from the Panamericana last week

At 0:06, a sign written by one of the protesters reads:

Mr. Minister [of Housing] Ricardo Molina, Vice-Minister Egla Rengifo: We ask that you personally meet us to find a prompt solution to our housing problem. Please, show your faces. ‘Look after the people!!!… We are Chavez’s Children… 100% Revolutionary!”

Jocelyn Martinez: … Jocelyn Martinez.
Reporter: How long have you been here?
Jocelyn Martinez: Since Monday.
Reporter: What are you demanding here?
Jocelyn Martinez: The right to dignified housing, because there are 22 families here on the street. We have nowhere to go, so we’re outside the Ministry here since last Monday but they won’t see us. We are totally revolutionary; how is it possible that we’re here on the street with these children? We are Venezuelan and we’re demanding our rights. We’re not asking for them to give us a home for free: we’re asking for them to observe the right that we have as Venezuelans.
Reporter: You’re asking for the right to be given an apartment so that you can pay it later.
Jocelyn Martinez: … so we can pay it later. It’s not a gift.
Reporter: What response have you had from the Minister?
Jocelyn Martinez: The only thing they’ve told us is that they don’t have homes for people right now. It’s not fair because if we’re the people and we’re revolutionaries, it’s not fair that they tell us that. There are single parents here, people with disabilities, elderly – there are all kinds of people here outside the Ministry.
[Background noise makes this next section mostly inaudible]

Jocelyn Martinez: … and it’s like the President said: people who live on the street are priority, and we’re out on the street so it looks like they don’t really mean that.
Reporter: They haven’t told you anything about the apartments that have been recovered through the OLP? [Operacion Liberacion del Pueblo – presumably, apartments that have been made vacant during the security operation could be used to house these families].

Jocelyn Martinez:  No, they haven’t said anything. All they’ve said is that they don’t have apartments for the people, the people who have been out here since Monday.
Reporter: Any words for President Nicolas Maduro?
Jocelyn Martinez: Well, listen to us and pay attention to us, we’re outside here. How is it possible — we’re 100% revolutionary, and we’re being treated like this. They’re not paying attention to us.

OVCS: 56 Looting Events in 2015 

Marco Antonio Ponce, The head of the Observatorio Venezolano de Conflictividad Social [Venezuelan Social Conflict Watch] told Spain’s ABC that there have been 56 looting events and 502 protests so far this year as a result of the severe scarcity the country is facing.

Ponce said that while the overwhelming majority of protests are peaceful, there are “micro-explosions [of violence] every day”.

Inflation Rises 12.8% in July

El Nacional cites an anonymous source inside the Banco Central de Venezuela as saying that the inflation rate jumped 12.8% in July, which if true would make it the highest one-month increase since 1989. The Banco Central de Venezuela has not published official inflation figures since the end of last year,

If the July numbers are correct, El Nacional says that the annualized inflation rate must now sit around 139%.

San Felix Looting Videos

Below, two videos showing the looting in San Felix, Bolivar state on Friday that left one man dead:

In the video below, some in the crowd are chanting, “The people are hungry! The people are hungry!”:

Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@mail.com

One thought on “08.03.15: “The People are Hungry!”

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