In the land of the twenty-four hour “fruit” stands

fruteriaI leave La Chinita airport, relieved that my cargo – two suitcases filled with toilet paper, shampoo, diapers, and other essentials – went undetected through customs, as if covered by Harry Potter’s Invisibility Cloak.

We are on our way. It’s 1 am, and the scene is what I expected – unlit streets, few cars out, litter everywhere, construction detours where nobody appears to be working on anything, marked by oil barrels lit aflame. But one thing is different.

“What business is that, open at 1 am on a Sunday night? What do they sell there? ” I ask my relatives.

“Oh, those are fruit stands.”

“Fruit? Who buys fruit at this time of night?” I shouldn’t have asked.

“There’s several businesses that open 24 hours. There are the fruit stands, and then there are the pirated CD vendors on the side of the highway. That’s just their cover, though. They basically sell drugs – marijuana, cocaine, crack, you name it. Everybody knows what they do.”

O sea … the new normal. Venezuela never ceases to amaze.

Note: My posts will be shorter and more sparse while I am in Venezuela. The intermittent Internet connection is also a challenge. Apologies in advance.

17 thoughts on “In the land of the twenty-four hour “fruit” stands

  1. I’m a frequent customer of that fruit stand and the one wich is right across that one, and I didn’t know they sell drugs, never heard of it. I’m as surprised as you are.

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  2. We who live here are in shock at the changes of the last several months, and we have seen them coming day by day. I will be interested to hear your reactions after seeing the changes from your last visit and getting them all in one single hit.

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  3. and I thought you were going to say they were selling toilet paper, sugar and milk at those fruit stands — that’s where I go shopping for those items when I’m in town!

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    • Well, in Venezuela, reselling regulated basic goods might net you a higher income than selling actual drugs.

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  4. Gueno, depende del dia y del cliente lo que uno ofrese, tu ve.. en las fruterias noctulnas puede habel de todo, depende de la caseria del dia..se intelcanbia toa vaina con los bachaqueros y tambien las fuelsas del olden local en el cerro,, a veses hay hasta panale y basuco, pero hay dias que no queda sino monte, pastiyas y pasta e diente o cambul.

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  5. I like how they use one illegal act (selling Pirated DVDs) as a cover for another illegal act (drug dealing).

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  6. this sounds like one of those urban legends… like the guys who sell roses who supposedly also sell drugs… you’ve been gone out too long…

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  7. Usssssssss…. esto es noticia vieja.

    Caracas is filled with these type of places. In El Cafetal there is a famous kiosk which has been open 24h for the past…. I don’t know 15Y? Almost always with a police patrol standing outside… Not to mention La Guairita, no man’s land between Baruta, Sucre and El Hatillo. Which is filled with DVD vendors open all-night-long. Police La Guairita in particular was raided several times by PoliSucre when Ocariz took office with no luck finding anything obviously…

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  8. “There’s several businesses that open 24 hours. There are the fruit stands, and then there are the pirated CD vendors on the side of the highway. That’s just their cover, though. They basically sell drugs – marijuana, cocaine, crack, you name it. Everybody knows what they do.”

    Wait, so neither of those links outright confirms businesses fronting as drug dens, so why highlight them and imply otherwise? It’s hearsay and a URL.

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