A video uploaded to YouTube yesterday by DolarToday shows a virtually bare Bicentenario supermarket in Valencia, Carabobo state. While the supermarket’s shelves are empty, the establishment does not appear to be closed as a trickle of shoppers mingle about.
The video features commentary by the woman who recorded it, who says:
Woman Recording: As you can see, this is the Valencia Bicentenario. There is absolutely nothing here. It’s empty. These are the wonderful fair prices of our Bolivarian socialist government. Look at how all of the freezers – all of them – are empty. There’s nothing, and people are buying whatever little miserable thing they can find. But we have lots of homeland!
The phrase “we have lots of homeland” [in Spanish, “tenemos patria”] was popularized by Chavez and has become a symbol of the nationalistic pride he instilled in Venezuelans. Today, the phrase is often used jokingly when talking about the severe shortages affecting the country, as was done in the video above.
Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles appeared to reference the video on a Twitter comment he made yesterday. Speaking in general to government officials and their supporters, Capriles said:
Enchufados [a derogatory term for “government supporter” that literally means “to be plugged in”], go line up under the sun to buy food and then tell people that we have a homeland.
Maduro: Venezuela Must Become Economic Power, Export Food
Speaking at a meeting of the Consejo Presidencial de las Comunas [Presidential Council on Communes] last night, Maduro delivered a message from former Cuban president Fidel Castro to the people of Venezuela:
Look, I’m bringing you greetings from commander Fidel Castro Ruz from Havana, Cuba. I was there participating in a profoundly chavista and humanist event (…) [Castro’s] 89 years of dignity. The champion of anti-imperialism and American dignity: Fidel Castro Ruz!
He also laid out a vision for a future Venezuela that has become an economic power capable of exporting food:
Commander Fidel says that the great themes of humanity are water and food. Venezuela holds in both hands water, a stable climate, land and a people to work and produce the food we need more and more every day so that we may become what we must become, brothers. Let us swear today, August 15: Venezuela must become an economic power to produce food for our homeland and the greater homeland.
While it is not clear what Maduro meant by “the greater homeland”, it is likely that he was referring to the wider Latin American community of left-leaning states.
San Felix Continues to Suffer Food Shortages
Following a looting spree on July 31 that saw a man killed and stores along a main avenue broken into, residents of San Felix have told Correo Del Caroni that the situation in their city has not improved.
Cecilia Martin told the newspaper upon exciting a supermarket in the city:
It’s the same thing. Take a look: nothing has improved.
Martin told the newspaper that she had gone shopping hoping to find pasta and rice, but was unable to find either.
Correo del Caroni also spoke with some of the over 200 people lined up outside a supermarket in the La Economica neighbourhood of the city. The supermarket was guarded by National Guard soldier, as fear that looting could happen again is palpable. Nairobys Gonzalez, a worker at the Chirica supermarket, said:
Work on Thursday was horrible. We had to close twice because people are still tense, and whenever we heard a commotion we closed. [We closed] at around 8:00 M because we were afraid there would be looting again.
Credit Card Use Jumps 132.7% In One Year
Economist Cesar Aristimuno told Panorama that one of the reasons for the increased use of credit cards has to do with the country’s high inflation rate:
… thanks to the high inflation in the country – the annualized rate of which is above the triple-digit mark – credit cards have become an indispensable financial resource.
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