El Nacional sent a reporter to talk to Venezuelans who had lined up at supermarkets in Caracas’ east end yesterday about their thoughts on the ongoing scarcity crisis.
Yolanda Vitola, a 50-year-old resident of Santa Teresa del Tuy, travels to Caracas every Friday in the hopes of finding food for the week, since “you almost can’t find a single thing” in her town. Vitola said:
This is chaos. Let’s see if they give us those [recall referendum] forms so that we can sign them and get rid of these people [the PSUV], since they’re making our lives so complicated. This is getting worse every day. I want the referendum of the [constitutional amendment that would end Maduro’s term next year] to come quickly so we can get rid of these people.
Vitola traveled to Caracas with one of her sons, who went to line out at another supermarket to increase the family’s chances of being able to buy food. However, Vitola said they had not been very lucky:
The only thing I’ve been able to buy is four [packs] of butter. I’m waiting to see what else they have, but I have to leave at 3:00 PM because otherwise I’ll get [figuratively] killed in the subway [rush hour], which is another disaster.
Melvi Mejia, a 45-year-old resident of Petare, lamented the fact that Maduro had declared every Friday until June 6 a holiday, since he believes that more people were turning out to try to find food.
At a supermarket line La Trinidad, 35-year-old Lucia Hernandez told the reporter:
I never imagined that I would live through a situation like this. I have a daughter who’s a year and a half. What future awaits her in this country?
Hernandez also commented on how the situation had become much worse in recent years than it had ever been in her lifetime:
I don’t deserve this kind of life. I remember that before, I could go to the movies or to the beach with the money I earned. Now, my standard of living has decreased. I work only so that I can buy food, and even that I can’t do. This is draining; it is an joke, it is humiliation.
Dicxibeth Fernandez, a 25-year-old resident of Petare got lucky, and told El Nacional that she had been able to buy rice, pasta, cooking oil, dish soap, sanitary napkins, diapers and razors. 60 year-old Carmen Rodriguez, however, was not so lucky:
I asked for the day off because I don’t have anything to eat at home. They said they’d bring out pasta [at the supermarket], but I’ll have to wait and see.
Minimum Monthly Salary Buys 7.9% of Nutrition Requirements
The Centro de Documentacion y Analisis Social de la Federacion de Maestros [CENDAS] revealed yesterday that a Venezuelan earning the minimum monthly salary is only able to afford 7.9% of the total amount of food needed to eat a healthy diet for a month.
The organization said that when taking into account other living expenses, a family living off two minimum monthly salaries would still only be able to afford 10.9% of the food they need for an entire month.
CENDAS, which tracks the daily rise in food prices, calculated that in February, a Venezuelan needed to spend Bs. 176,945.45 per month to ensure a healthy diet, a figure that is 18.3 times higher than the minimum monthly salary.
Oscar Meza, the head of CENDAS, also said that the average Venezuelan spends 69% of her income on food alone.
Motta Dominguez Calls for Divine Intervention
Ministry of Electrical Energy Luis Motta Dominguez called on God to help his office resolve the country’s crippling electricity crisis through a tweet yesterday. The tweet reads:
It’s not only technology and all of our efforts! We also need Him… Praise be to God!
Venezuela is a predominantly Catholic country, and Motta’s comments are not exactly out of place within that context. However, Motta’s comments raised eyebrows on social media, as some Venezuelans wondered if hoping for a miracle to resolve the country’s electricity crisis is an effective government policy.
Similarly, Maduro drew widespread ridicule last year when, while speaking about the worsening economic and social crises in the country, he said that “God will provide” a solution to Venezuela’s problems.
Opp. Calls for Protests on April 19
The Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) has called for mass demonstrations in Caracas on Tuesday, April 19 to demand that the Consejo Nacional Electoral carry out its duties and begin the recall referendum process against Maduro.
The main demonstration will take place starting at 10:00 AM at the Parque Miranda in Caracas, and will be complimented by 1,500 signature-collecting stations around the city.
The head of the MUD, Jesus Torrealba, criticized the head of the CNE, Tibisay Lucena, for her obvious foot-dragging on the referendum issue:
It’s a ridiculous process. Get signatures to get more signatures to get more signatures. We’ve even had off against the violent drunks that make up Lucena’s Honour Guard. But none of this will stop us. We’ve launched protests in different CNE [offices around the country] today, and we will carry out continuous demonstrations until April 19.
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