A grim goodbye

La Guaira

Kind of like this, but without the ship in the horizon

I left Venezuela yesterday after spending ten days there. I have tons of things I want to write about once I get my thoughts in order, but one particular thing stuck with me. It happened to be the last thing I saw of our country.

As I was taking off from a barren, deserted Maiquetía (more on that later), I looked down on the port of La Guaira. Normally, the port is a chaotic mess, with ships docking, and others waiting for days on end for their papwerwork to clear (and by paperwork I mean “bribes”) in order to unload their cargo.

This time, the port was lonely. No ships docked. No ships waiting to leave. No ships waiting to come in.

Scarcity in Venezuela is an issue, but to me it’s not the issue. The issue is how little regular Venezuelans, stuck in the morass, comprehend the level of insanity they are under, and the level of crazy that’s about to hit them.

Think about it – how does the average salary in Venezuela compare to those in other countries?

Well, it all depends on what exchange rate you use. If you use the official 6.3 rate, we’re doing fine. If you use the black market rate of 560-something, then we are dirt poor.

The story is the same when you use the purchasing power of certain goods. A monthly minimum wage in Venezuela buys you about 7 kilos of grapes (sticker price: BsF 1,150 per kilo when I checked), or it buys you 42 kilos of beef (“fair” price: Bs. 180 per kilo, although when I checked there was no beef), or better still, 2,500 tanks of gasoline.

Ultimately, Venezuelans are global consumers, so the price of your salary has to be compared to an international standard, one that is market bassed, one that requires using some sort of exchange rate, presumably a market one. In that regard, Venezuelans’ purchasing power has collapsed dramatically.

Yet you walk around and people are still going about their business. Stewardesses do their job seemingly pretending as if they’re middle class. People waiting tables, or cleaning the streets, do theirs as if their salaries actually bought them stuff. Managers go about their day thinking they are upper middle class.

Sure, they complain about the cost of living, and they complain about not being able to find basic staples. But I got the feeling that Venezuelans living at home haven’t fully processed just how screwed up the country is, and how dramatically their purchasing power has collapsed.

Part of this is caused by basic economic and civic ignorance, but a lot of it comes from the government’s incessant attack on relative prices. Because, when nobody knows what things cost anymore, when you have no benchmarks with which to compare your earnings, you become less aware of how much you’re suffering.

I guess it serves to dull the pain a bit. That is why the government will keep it up as long as they need to, and as long as they can afford this charade.

It won’t be long until the charade is over.

132 thoughts on “A grim goodbye

  1. “But I got the feeling that Venezuelans living at home haven’t fully processed just how screwed up the country is, and how dramatically their purchasing power has collapsed.”

    In the past few months the screwiness of Venezuela is lived personally by the increasing isolation of the country.

    We’ve noticed that phone communications from the US are more difficult. Traveling there is out of the question because my wife’s Venezuelan passport is expired and she is unable to renew it in the US. She is afraid to go there with her US passport after the dust up with the US in March, and there is the Mad Max sense of physical danger in just being in the country due to crime.

    Her family in Venezuela cannot afford to visit us anymore and are quite aware of their poverty in real terms.

    And in the meantime her dear aunt lies in her deathbed with now possibility of goodbyes.

    Patria, socialismo o MUERTE, we certainly are getting the last one right.


    • renacuajo, you DO need the Venezuelan passport to enter Venezuela if the US passport says that you were born in Venezuela.


      • I haven’t renewed my Venezuelan passport since 1994 and I have no intention to renew it. Every time I go to Venezuela they see I was born there and ask me “tienes pasaporte Venezolano? (while chewing gum and texting with 1″ long finger nails) – No. – Tienes que sacarlo. – OK – Siguiente!”. All I bring with me, is la cedula.


  2. I have had the misfortune of having to deal with the disaster that is Puerto Cabello for the past 9 years. In it`s glory days of the revolution back in 2007 and 2008 (and again briefly in 2012 leading up to the farcical elections) there would be up to 25-27 ships in port discharging at any given time with another 30+ at anchor waiting to berth to discharge. Thus approximately 60+ ships day-after-day with no break, on a continuous basis

    So far in 2015 the greatest number of ships discharging or at anchor off Puerto Cabello was 44 ships on January 30th and this was the result of the Chistmas/New Years holidays which delayed paper work, customs clearance and discharge of ships resulting in a back-up. Since that day the cola has gotten smaller and smaller with a couple of small, short increases due to Carnival and Semena Santa holidays. But throughout May and June the number of ships has averaged at most 17. For my sins I check this everyday and have for the past several years. So by my simple stupid take of things, imports are about only 30 percent of the level of 2008 or 2012.

    I have also noticed that there is an increase of ships showing a destination of Puerto Cabello, but these ships hang off Venezuelan waters near Aruba or Bonaire, sometimes waiting for several days or even weeks before entering Venezuelan waters and anchoring off Puerto Cabello, waiting to discharge. From my experience in operating and chartering ships (30+ years) this is occurring because the cargo has not been paid for and the charterer/supplier is ordering the ship to wait outside of Venezuelan waters until they receive payment because they don`t trust the receiver (mainly the government) to not seize the cargo and discharge without payment.

    Even greater shortages and harder times are coming from what I see on the imports side.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. But, Juan, surely they can see how much they have to pay for the goods they need and compare these prices with their income. Frankly I cannot understand how the ordinary Venezuelan, earning in the local currency, without a pocket full of dollars, can manage. I hear that the person with dollars will have no problems, everything will be “very cheap” for them. But for the bolivar consumer this must be untenable. How do they do it? I have not been in Venezuela for the last 12 years and have lost touch with the day to day reality.


    • Gustavo, there are many things we do without nowadays. Don’t travel overseas anymore (used to once/yr) our vacations in Vzla are limited to only a few days/yr —- not many choices, expensive, not very safe. We’ve all become “political” prisoners in our own towns. Love salmon and used to eat it regularly, not anymore —- the same for other kinds of fish. Enjoyed having people over for a nice meal — this has been eliminated. And have made other major cuts in our expenses to be able to survive. So it’s not business as usual and we do know how screwed up the country is. We just try to make the best of it.


      • Ok Charlie. But you are talking about the upper middle clas, the one that had salmon and social life. But I am talking about the immmnese mass of the Venezuelan People, the 25 million or so that used to make it barely 15 years ago and now: what?


        • Those are clinging to the thought that they didn’t made a mistake, the worst mistake of their entire lives, by voting with the stomach for this mess.

          So they’re willing to put up with this, because they’ve been taught to hate the middle class, and now have a degree of satisfaction watching them “suffer like themselves”

          In theory, they consider themselves in a better position than before, just because they deluded themselves with some silly made-up lie.

          The other option would be that they’re too frightened from the colectivos pointing guns at their faces every day at every hour


          • “The other option would be that they’re too frightened from the colectivos pointing guns at their faces every day at every hour”

            This shouldn’t be underestimated. Intimidation likely plays a significant role – those who are opposition-minded generally stay quiet and try not to draw attention to themselves, while those who have always been “in the fold” are fearful of the consequences of defecting.

            I wonder if doubting chavistas are experiencing something like deeply religious people who wrestle with doubt – “could it really all have been smoke and mirrors? If so, can I really bring myself to face that and mark a new course?” It’s not a simple question of dropping one idea for another. It implies a complete from-the-ground-up reconfiguration of one’s entire brain, worldview, and self. Normal human beings who have believed in something so deeply that they’ve built their entire lives around it don’t like to feel the ground moving under their feet like that – it can’t be easy to consider that the devil may have been right after all.


            • No matter what we tell ourselves. There is a great number of chavistas that are eating sh*** but will continue to do so simply because the “no volveran”, “anything but the right”, etc. discourse.

              I don’t see how the oppo is really doing anything to get to these people, and unfortunately I can count a few family members within the ranks. No matter what I tell them, they see it as the old 40 years coming back… (as if the 5th was not worse in every possible way)


              • 100% agree.

                A Venezuelan oppo friend once shocked me by wishing Chavez hadn’t died. He reasoned that the inevitable collapse of Bolivarian socialism needed to happen with Chavez still in charge in order to really discredit the system. As it is, hardcore chavistas associate the current crisis with Maduro and not the system itself.

                The long, hard road back to democracy:

                1) take over AN in December
                2) schedule/win recall referendum
                3) defeat new chavista candidate for the Presidency

                All of that assumes no gvmt/military intervention at any point in that chain of events.

                If after a series of Herculean efforts -and a good deal of luck- all of that happens, it only earns the opportunity to begin the complex and gargantuan task of restoring democracy.

                What will that involve? New constitution? Mass political (non-violent) purges? Guaranteed immunity deals? Void crippling long-term agreements with China and Russia? How do you convince Venezuelans with expertise to come back home from all four corners of the globe and help rebuild the country?

                All that said, I do think that all of that is possible, as tall a mountain (or series of mountains) as that is to climb. At some future point, Venezuela might be a shining example of Latin American statecraft – simultaneously being 1) firm evidence of the futility of full-bore state socialism, 2) a stern warning to build schools, educate the poor, and include them in the economy so that there is no political market for Marxism, and 3) evidence that a prosperous, stable, inclusive economy CAN be planted, watered, and grown in Latin America…

                La esperanza muere ultimo, ¿no?


        • Gustavo,

          I understand exactly what Juan experienced. It isn’t that they don’t see the disaster coming, or that they are not suffering the effects of rising prices and lowered standards of living. People keep going and continuing their accustomed routines because they simply don’t know what else to do.


        • They are doing fine, they have Mercal, where basically they get a big bag of food for free (regardless of the lines), many of them go to Misiones and get paid just for being registered, they are in the same or just slightly worse condition they were before. That’s part of the problem that we have. I believe that if you have been in real poverty conditions all your life and struggling to feed your family, first there’s no such thing as thinking about the future like we do, just the next meal and second, in your mind every day is the same, just struggling to feed your family and not get killed. Sad…I’d just wish that the last sentence of this post was true.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly my question. If a bunch of grapes or pampers is half the salary, plus food, dress, school, transportation, Rent, utilities, etc.

      Hay un Zoologico de Gatos encerrados.. GUISOS.. everywhere.

      It’s mathematically impossible for people to be cool and dandy, about their honest business, with 150% inflation and a salary increase worth a cup of coffee.

      It’s not like they can’t remember what it was like a few years ago. They just find other income sources, bachaqueo, or worse.


    • Juan, there are several factors that help somehow to let people carry out with the collapse of the purchasing power many of them created by the government t:
      1- For working class citizens there is bachaqueo, there is a tacit understanding in private companies that cleaning personnel, security guards can take breaks from work to queue in line and get basic staples, in the place II work the cleaning personnel sells dishwashing soap, coffee, sugar and similars to the big cheeses that they acquire by queuing in line at a profit. The girl who cleans my family house also works for a house where a nurse takes care of an elder. They cover for each other when scarce staples arrive at the nearby supermarket and sell for a profit. Many people complain about bachaqueo “de la boca para afuera”, but actually is kind of a subsidy mechanism for many and the government knows this.
      2- Middle class people are living on credit. State banks, such as Banco de Venezuela, are dramatically increasing limit of credit cards and offering personal unsecured loans payable in 5 years at a 24% interest rate.
      It’s a desperate situation, but we always know as in Cuba that people lives on the black market in scarcity, on arbitrage is nothing new.


      • There may be something to point 2 as per personal observation, relative with a very small account was called several times so that he would pick a credit card from a state bank , after he picked it up the limit was incredibly large , much more than he had ever needed to use.


    • “Untenable” is putting it mildly. As a single, young professional with access to a dwindling savings account in dollars, its hard enough to make basic ends meet. My heart goes out to parents earning minimum wage, or a hefty salary for that matter, who put their kids through school, pay for groceries, rent, clothing and supplies, God forbidding a health emergency occurs. It´s dire. Sordid, even.


      • Something seldom mentioned is how traditional family networks pull together to provide members of extended family with many necessities or help which individually they cannot get. Scarce stapples or medicines get shared , information on where to get difficult to find articles exchanged . Its one area where traditional venezuelan culture is showing its value ,!! Half of anyones needs are met by having many friends and relatives keep a double list of what needs to be found or bought for oneself and for ones family or close friends . Ive seen total strangers give up part of their rationed stapples to share with others in need , there is an element of spontaneous generosity in many common venezuelans .!!


  4. The disconnect between what’s happening, (the degradation of living with the lines for food, the crime and other insults of the current reality) and people’s attitudes is striking. Rather than activism, the norm seems to be the equivalent of banging a pot as an attempt to fix your political woes – people talk and complain in public with no action, perhaps because the government has effectively taken away the means of true political involvement and filled the people with fear. Even the Chavistas seem sad. When they’re all queued up at the Mercal/stores/etc I want to ask them where their faux Maduro mustaches are, that they were so gleefully wearing not that long ago. It was all one big laugh when they elected him, like somehow they were poking their finger in they eye of those that thought electing him might turn out to be a bad idea. Who’s laughing now?

    Liked by 1 person

    • “It was all one big laugh when they elected him, like somehow they were poking their finger in they eye of those that thought electing him might turn out to be a bad idea. Who’s laughing now?”

      What always strikes me as maddening is to hear from arrogant Chavistas in Venezuela and in my country things like “Chavez los tiene locos” or “Dilma los tiene locos”. Implying that the middle class or upper class are the ones who are really suffering with the government’s insane policies and the consequential economic crisis. It’s absurd…

      Of course we are all touched somehow by their bad policies, there’s no escape from that, but it’s wrong to assume that we are more affected than the segments of society who had elected them. As for the middle class and upper class it’s far easier to emigrate, like most educated Venezuelans have already done, and even if they choose to stay, they will still have far more means to deffend themselves from every-day problems than the poor chavista ignorant masses, who are the backbone of the failed revolution.

      Thus, I see those people “happy” with the fact that the crisis is affecting the “rich”, as if they (chavistas) were somehow in a much better position to face the country’s problems, and the absurdity of this reasoning is just overwhelming for me to bear. It’s like the allegory of the cave, the ones chained inside the cave seriously considering that they are better off than the ones outside.

      Mindblowing… It’s a blend of stupidity and fanaticism. I don’t doubt that some Chavistas celebrate the fact that their government forced people like Nagel to leave the country, but what they fail to understand is that this people are mostly living common lives abroad, while they can’t even find milk on the shelves nor jobs overseas.


      • The fanatic chavistas only have their overinflated egos left, they are like some terrorist grunt that doesn’t realize he’s been used as a tool most of his life and the so-called ideals he holds are just a lie.


        • The other day I read very sad news on a famous Chavista singer in Venezuela, some sort of folk singer, Elisa something, who happened to be killed by Chavista criminals for no reason whatsoever. The thing is, soon after that, her Chavista brother started to frenetically and furiosly tweet against Maduro, Chavismo, status quo, police, you name it.


          If it weren’t for that, he would probably remain Chavista for another 30 years! Those people sometimes love Chavismo more than their own family, it’s just nuts.


          • Well, there you have former congressman serra, whose mother is running for a seat in the assembly, surfing in her own son’s corpse to get the votes, fully backing maburro’s crackpot conspiracy theory.

            Most of these chavista folks will be chavista until true chavismo comes knocking at their doors.


    • I don´t know who is laughing…I don´t think anyone is laughing. Are you laughing? Lack of empathy brought us here and, I am afraid, keeps us here…really sad.


  5. “Yet you walk around and people are still going about their business”

    Most people must make more than “minimum salary”, one way or another. The math just does not add up. And a lot of it is illegal. Bogus second jobs, freebies, tigritos or plain participation in Countless Guisos everywhere, at all levels from the people cleaning the planes, to the pilot.


    • That phrase jumped out at me as well. The feeling of being stunned that life goes on the way it does. It is almost as if civilization has a kind of memory, like the body with a lost limb, that continues long after it has ceased for all intents and purposes to exist.

      This feeling goes away though, at critical points- when you have to visit a hospital or clinic, when you are forced to travel at night, when you find out how so and so can afford that new luxury vehicle, when you pass through a popular barrio or a small rural town…then you are no longer in this world that seems to defy gravity. And I’ve thought exactly like Juan expresses it, for years now, sitting in Maiquetia airport relieved to the bone to have passed security and immigration: surely this can’t go on much longer, surely some sort of explosion or catharsis is imminent. And then I think, maybe it is just middle class people like me who have grown up with rules and order and a strong sense of personal agency who think this is complete insanity, and the spectacularly rich guy in the seat in front of me, and the poor guy who is now just a dot on the horizon, think otherwise, and somehow the regime has been successful in making the middle the outsider and the enemy.


      • I know precisely the feeling….but for me it usually passed after the United flight had passed 10,000`and if it had to declare an emergency the pilot was going to do whatever it took to land in Aruba where they could deal with normal people and normal issues instead of the magical reality of a psuedo kletopcratic revolution.


        • Its true. The bone deep relief passes a little later. After they frisk me for drugs during boarding. I play perverse scenarios in my head that some day, I will tell them to check the cargo hold officer, there is a ton of it being loaded by your pana while you inspect my man-purse, and I will be arrested and never be able to read Caracas Chronicles again…


  6. “Part of this is caused by basic economic and civic ignorance, but a lot of it comes from the government’s incessant attack on relative prices.”

    Too kind. A lot of it is due to the severe level of under-education and Massive ignorance at every level, Economic, Historical, basic things like Cuba and North Korea are bad, little pieces of info. like there’s no Economic Wars or Imperio,, or that Vzla is just about the worst country to live in on the planet, deadliest, retrograde..

    Hordes of people still think they live in “democracy”, they believe a lot of the obvious, enormous lies they are fed everyday.

    That’s called Massive Ignorance, crippling under-education. Most of the somewhat educated people who could, left a long time ago, about 1.5 Million. The rest are mostly enchufados and highly under-educated people, most of them. There’s no way they “wouldn’t notice the shit they’re in” as you suggest, if they had the most basic Clue of what’s up in the world. And that’s not just “alfabetisasion”.

    That’s what we still do not want to admit. 40 years of adecos/copeyanos doing nothing to Educate the Pueblo + 16 years of Populism crap with brain-washing and censorship, adds up. We are reaping what we sowed: Docile Ignorant Zombies is what we have left, to a large extent, as you seem to describe.


    • “Part of this is caused by basic economic and civic ignorance, but a lot of it comes from the government’s incessant attack on relative prices.” Muzzling the press doesn’t help understand either.


      • At the end of the day, el bolsillo no miente. Regardless of propaganda, it’s simple math: income vs.expenses.

        Either food is very cheap, and no one pays Rent or gas or electricity, School is completely free too, Healthcare and medicine free, transportation very cheap, clothes free or recycled, or…. people make more money. Way more.



    • You can’t really think that 1.5mm are representative of educated people that left. I know a lot of non-educated people (but wealthy) that left, I also know a lot of non-educated/non-wealthy people that left. Even if you look at the phoney numbers from INE you would see that assuming that the 1.5mm are all educated it is a chunk, but not totally representative of the educated population of Vzla.


  7. “But I got the feeling that Venezuelans living at home haven’t fully processed just how screwed up the country is, and how dramatically their purchasing power has collapsed.”

    Isn’t that just a way of rephrasing that people have simply grown accustomed to things?


  8. Great points, Juanito. While Venezuela is a golbal consumer, Maduro doesn’t want to play by those rules or to be accountable to the countries who foot the bill for fiscally irresponsible nations like Cuba, Venezuela, Greece, etc. Note how Castro just hailed Greece for it’s “brilliant victory,” that is, Greece pissed away billions of Euros and is now saying to the others holding the note that they can go to hell.

    This quote is also telling:

    RELATED: 2015 BRICS Summit: What to Expect​ One of its priorities for this summit is the launching of a much-anticipated BRICS development bank as a means of breaking away from Western-dominated financial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. In line with that thinking, the central banks of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa officially agreed to invest US$100 billion in a joint currency pool Tuesday. Maduro added that the countries of Latin America should follow the lead of the BRICS countries and redouble their efforts to build regional institutions designed around the principles of complementarity and bilateral cooperation. “Seeing this experience of the BRICS (bloc) should motivate us. The world is moving, it is a multi-centric world… each center is an engine that generates results, and we have produced some results on the continent,” Maduro told teleSUR. In late 2007 the countries of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela signed an accord to create the Bank of the South, a development bank with similar aims to the BRICS bank. However, the initiative has been stalled, according to President Maduro, as a result of a “lack of political will” and “bureaucracy.”

    Here, Maduro wants to set up his own superfund that would not be accountable to the global economy, but verily, the BRICS bank never happened, not for the “lack of political will and bureaucracy,” but because excepting Brazil, the other countries don’t have a pot to piss in and could no more fund a 100 billion dollar bank than they could breathe underwater.

    All of these delusions will soon come crumbling down, and I’m afraid just how ugly it will all get when it does.



  9. People sure face reality if they need car parts, a new fridge, A/C, stove, TV, etc.

    Then the shock sets in.

    We know many people struggling with the day to day prices but the real hit comes when something breaks & you need to replace it.


  10. Dignity is something good people do their absolute all never to abandon no matter what. All you see are people keeping their dignity in spite of the worst. It’s what the British call the stiff upper lip. And for the same reason they may be disinclined to share their deepest anxieties with you all the while fully aware of everything.


  11. I do see a changed mood in people , not the excited bustle of before when sarce things were expected to arrive , but a sort of quiet gloom , people walk slowly , look carefully at the price of anything and then put it back on the shelve, search behind the back of the shelves for some forgotten goodie no longer available , long faces at the cash register , nothing of that anything goes spirit . the queues are as long as ever , a relative stood 7 hours yesterday waiting to enter a govt food store and retrieve her small ration of some basic stapples . For a car to develop any kind of motor trouble , or to lose its battery or a tire is felt as a small tragedy. Business is at an all time low , tradesman who can still price their goods dont know how to price then . There is a mood of bitter dark humour in repeating the govt lines about how things are going so well , also a sense of expectancy, this cant go on forever . a desire for closure to the country’s all round suffering.

    Favourite topic , to leave or not to leave , before it was the younger people , now its also a lot of mature people , who have relatives abroad and hope that they will find the move not overly traumatic. Im sure much of what I now write will be the subject of Juans reflexions in blogs to come .!! .


    • “Favourite topic. to leave or not to leave…..” Why,if one had the financial means, would a person remain? I understand family, etc. may be a roadblock but faced with similar circumstances the Cubans that departed Cuba are damn glad the did it when they had a chance. The trauma experienced by what is to come in Venezuela will probably be greater than that felt by relocating.


  12. “It won’t be long until the charade is over.”

    No it won’t. I doubt if it will make any difference though. Even if the majority still hasn’t processed the disaster this is, Everyone knows we’re “Dead Men Walking”


      • For all the bad that Fidel Castro did to the Cubans, he was smart and competent, within the limits of his ideology. The people in charge of the Venezuelan government today do not have any of the same level of core competency. Combine that, and the lack of a charismatic leader, and I see no way for them to remain in power. As soon as there is nothing left to steal, the rats will abandon the ship. At the current burn rate, the reserves will be depleted sometime after October. The question in my mind is whether or not the regime lasts till the election in December.


  13. “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”

    ― Henry David Thoreau


  14. Dear Juan Cristobal, I appreciate that you could spend some time in Venezuela and watch how our country is doing on this macro shitstorm. On an off topic basis, I’d like to get in touch with you to ask a couple questions about study options in Chile. I have a Bachelor’s in Economics from UCV and I’m looking to do a Masters’ as early as next year, and there are several options I’m considering, including Chile.

    I will appreciate a lot if you can give me some insight into this matter, seeing that you are teaching at UAndes there. My email is dauz_ucv@hotmail.com.

    Best regards,


  15. One of the reasons the SEBIN bastards were so aggressive against the students distributing water in the queues was that they were telling people not to get used to it.

    If there is any hope for Venezuela, the people who can need to inform normal Venezuelans – the great majority of which never have been abroad – how things around them, even in Colombia, are not as shitty as in Venezuela and that it is time to get rid of the military scum and socialists destroying the country.


    • time to get rid of the military scum and socialists destroying the country.

      Kepler? I can see you wanting to to get get rid of military scum, but socialists? Are you recently returned from Damascus? :)

      Tl;dr thought you were a Socialist


      • As socialist here I refer to those who reject pluralism and pretend or seriously consider a socialist utopia. I do not put in the same group social democrats and the like. My political stance has been more complex than the left right divide and than since I was about 11.


  16. La economía puede joder muchas cosas, pero no a una dictadura, la isla prostíbulo es la mejor prueba de ello.


    • No se, igual que Cuba es un ejemplo hay muchos contra-ejemplos, como la economía contribuye a derrumbar regimines. Esta la caida de la USSR, la revolucion francesa etc. Vamos a ver que pasa en este manicomio.


  17. And then there are those folks who subsist from changing US Dollars at 500 bees per green, drive armored vehicles, travel often, take afternoons off at least twice a week, buy food at whichever price they must and for those few select people, things are fine. Nothing’s going on in good ole Venezuela.

    Regardless of how bad it seems, quite a few down there still think we -the emigrants- are the ones that are nuts and not them and they take any criticism as a personal insult.


  18. Kepler needs to infiltrate the populus and get this thing over. It’s torturous to see and hear my relatives in CC and Carabobo hanging on for dear life. I have a daughter graduating from college and she tells me forget it, don’t come down. Too risky. Thirty years ago I used to walk around the shittiest parts of El Tigre at night with a load on and never once had a problem.



  19. “It won’t be long until the charade is over.”

    I’m not sure at this point what’s the basis saying this. This can and will most likely go indefinitely.

    Btw, I’m guilty of what the post is saying too. I’ve been winning in the neighborhood of 20k Bs. for a while now, when I started this job this salary was kinda awesome but now is just the same worthless shit a bolivar is. Obviously my desperation has been growing slower but it is there.


  20. O.T., additional U. S. sanctions (Treasury/State?) on Venezuelan officials reportedly are to be announced tomorrow….


  21. Juan, you don´t have to skirt around the issue. Venezuelans are poor. As in “with-one-dollar-a-day-you-can-help-this-child-meet-his-basic-needs-Infomercial” poor. As in Haiti poor. A top-earning executive in a multinational corporation in Venezuela will thank his lucky stars if he is making Bs.100.000, which amounts to $166.00 a month, $1992 a year, without inflation. To say nothing of the vast majority of Venezuelans, college educated or not, who make barely above the minimum wage of $13 a month. We, the Venezuelan middle class, need a good slap in the face to wake up to how impoverished we have become, a fact that becomes attenuated by the distortions resulting from price controls and subsidies. Truth is, if price controls were to be lifted from basic consumer goods like Mineral Water ( Bs. 7,00=$0,01), Rice (Bs. 22,50= $ 0,37), or cornmeal (Bs. 22 = $ =,36); 99 percent of the Venezuelan population would go into deep poverty. Perhaps the steep decrease in our purchasing power is still being masked by exchange-rate arbitrage opportunities and payoffs from waiting in line for sugar, but the truth is, we are a poor, poor country. I feel for the vast majority that cannot leave.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is what I can’t understand. If a lucky Corp. Exec makes $200/month, or the average Venezuelan makes, say $50/month… How can they possibly survive? They must live in small apartments or Ranchitos by the dozen, no rent, no electricity, no cable, sharing the same clothes for all, 2 motos, when lucky, for transportation, free medicine and health insurance (hhmmm), No Tampax, Free pampers, Free School and free School materials and clothes, free cel phones and very cheap service, Zero vacations or even a breakfast at a panaderia.

      And they could only eat some of that rice and corn meal, maybe a mango or pasta with tuna. A very poor diet for the Lucky Corporate Executive, not to mention the “Average” Venezuelan.

      I hereby challenge anyone to do the basic math:

      Household of 12, in a Ranchito:
      Normal Household of 4, clase media, El Cafetal

      Hygene (Tampax,diapers, soap..):
      School items:
      Food: (pasta, rice, tuna, only.. yeah right..)
      Healthcare or Insurances:
      Inflation: 150%.

      Total basic expenses (no surprises or accidents) : $$
      It. does. not. add. up.

      unless, additional income…….

      Bachaqueo net profit: $$
      Shady “bonus” : $$
      Free lavadora from PSUV
      Free moto from corner gang friend
      Free Harina Pan in return of baby-sitting:
      Second Phantom nomina:

      Tigrito de Abril en la construccion de aquel local, cemento y cabilla:$$$

      Guisito de Navidad, material de propaganda: $$

      Guisito con Freddy, del sindicato: $$$

      Now it starts to add up, and they’re still poor.


      • The reason they can survive (so far), is that average prices are very low compared to the real world. This is because of a combination of the government subsidizing imports via the various controlled exchange mechanisms and low labor rates. For someone who has dollars, this is currently the cheapest place in the world to live. Example: My morning cafe con leche currently costs less than 20 cents.

        Obviously, this cannot and will not last.


        • I strongly suspect that a much larger % of the population than we like to think is Cooking.

          One way or another. Not everyone. But a LOT.

          In today’s Kleptocracies, corruption is actually encouraged, promoted. There’s total impunity. The Regime wants people to participate in its corruption, so they feel complicit and become dependent.

          The honest people that would not steal, we’re mostly Gone. You, me , most of our friends and families. I only have very few friends left still in Vzla, and it’s because their situations are exceptional: a recognized painter and a large private business owner, one of the few surviving ones. Many acquaintances I had are involved in shady deals with the Regime, directly or indirectly. Of course, they won’t admit it, but we all know. We do the math,

          I doubt anyone will fill in spaces of my basic income/expense chart: Can’t be done. Because Cubazuela is not Alaska, where they get and Oil pension..


  22. Why do people need to mention the dollar, which is not accessible for the vast majority of the population?
    Don’t use the dollar unless you just want to amuse foreign journalists and diplomats in Venezuela.

    I think if we want to explain to all the sheer disaster Venezuela is right now we just need to stick to purchasing power based on what the mean salary is.

    This is how Germans and others explain economic development to the masses:

    what can you buy in Venezuela for your salary as a worker, as a school teacher? What can you buy with your salary as a worker, as a school teacher in Colombia, Peru, Chile?

    I was trying to explain to my aunt, a retired school teacher in Venezuela, that in Chile a school teacher could rent a flat and pay for food with his salary. She couldn’t believe it. In Venezuela a teacher hadn’t been able to earn enough in a month to pay for a week of a bad flat for years, cannot even buy enough food for a small family now.


    • For quite a while, the most recent World Bank data we have had for economies has been 2012.
      The following has been around for a while.

      GDP per capita, PPP (constant 2011 international $), 1998-2012 % increase.
      Venezuela 14.4 %
      Latin America & Caribbean (developing only) 30.2%

      In 2012, the oil price was still high, and according to PDVSA, oil export income in 2012 was $120 billion.
      The World Bank now has data for 2014, when the oil price fall began.

      GDP per capita, PPP (constant 2011 international $), 1998-2014 % increase.
      Venezuela 8.1 %
      Latin America & Caribbean (developing only) 33.8 %

      1998 was, of course, the year when the oil price fell to $10/bbl, so it makes a good comparison with 2014. The above is one more indication that many hundreds of billions of dollars of oil income for Venezuela has evaporated.

      The above simply adds to your point.



  23. “Because, when nobody knows what things cost anymore, when you have no benchmarks with which to compare your earnings, you become less aware of how much you’re suffering”.

    I don’t understand this, I think being away for such a long time makes us people overseas lose a bit of perspective, how does not having a benchmark prevent people from suffering? People know what their money buys and what it doesn’t, they are obviously able to buy something with what they have and know how difficult it is (particularly with inflation) and how prices change… I think people realize this, but what are they supposed to do? A revolution? The Governement has been very good at making people stop wanting to protest…

    I work in poorer countries, and believe me, people are aware of how poor they are, or how limited their purchase capabilities are (as the “poor” brand is difficult to bear or acceept), but they go about their lives trying to make the best out of it and it’s not necessarily a personal tragedy…


  24. Simple economic problem:

    The lawful “fair price” for a whole chicken is “X” Bsf. Your salary is 100 times “X” Bsf per month. No store within 20 kilometers of your house has any chicken. How many chickens per month can you afford on your salary?


  25. Socialism makes everybody poor except the ruling elite and you eventually have a dictator and violent repression as things unravel. People refuse to learn from the past. The Venezuelan poor put the chavistas in power mainly as a repudiation of colonialism (revenge) and out of a blind hatred of the “gringos” (anyone who looked white or had any mixed blood) that they stupidly blamed for their poverty. It should be very obvious now that 21st century socialism (20th century castrism) is not going to solve their poverty problem. With oil prices as low as they are, there is no way the Chavista idiots can prevent the mess from getting worse. Ah, the good old days when there was food on store shelves, medicine and people weren’t dying from the lack of medical supplies, investment and growth, tourism, people didn’t hate each other, soldiers didn’t murder beauty queens and students, and PDVSA was pumping 3 million barrels a day. Frying pan into the fire, and now you will burn like the idiots who followed Jim Jones into “socialist paradise” in Guyana.


    • Hahaha! Well said!

      After almost two decades with these idiots ruling most of the continent, it’s now clear for everyone that the foundations of 21st century socialism were not different at all from the Peoples Temple — a brutal leadership selling dreams of happiness and freedom that had never arrived. No wonder Jim Jones choose South America to establish his “Republic”…

      If Maduro orders Chavistas to commit mass suicide, probably 70% or 80% will do it.


  26. Actually Vzla ain’t that bad. Not at all. I finally get it:

    If you compare, for example, the Poor in the USA with Cubazuela’s less fortunate:

    Minimum salary is about $8/hr, or $1300 per month.

    Less Taxes: Say $1000 income/month.

    Venezuela: No Taxes: 30% more income than most of the poor in other countries, right there.

    Out of the $1000/Net per month in the USA, poor people have to pay:

    Rent/mortgage: $1000 (minimum 1 bedroom) —– Vzla: Free
    Electricity: $50 / Free
    Phone: $50 / ?
    Cable, Internet: $100 / Free
    Obama care: $50 / Free
    School: ? $100 / Free
    Car/Gas: $100 / Free

    Food (non-regulated, a lot more expensive, per person) $300
    Clothes, hygiene, misc: $100
    $1850/month net expenses.

    Or no less than $1000/ per person, IF, big if, sharing small apt with another family.
    No ranchos allowed here.

    So, on paper, who is worse off, Purchasing Power, real living expenses?

    No one pays for most of the above items in Vzla.

    Except minimum food ?50$? , regulated, plus “bono alimentario?”. Every “necesidad basica”, if not Free, is a LOT cheaper than the USA.

    No one with minimum salary,and zero Guisos on the side could afford it.. it’s mathematically impossible.

    Suddenly I don’t feel as bad for Vzla’s poor on “minimum salary”. Even if they are honest workers (I suspect many are not) they have most of the Largest Expenses for Free, or very cheap. Tax free too.

    No wonder the revolution hasn’t arrived yet. Compared to the USA, they are just fine. You do the math.


    • Finally, reality sinks in–very well-analyzed. Add in several minimum wage/Pension/Mision earners per crowded dwelling, very cheap/subsidized bus/subway transportation, no need for heating/air conditioning in many areas of a Country near the Equator, no need for seasonal change of clothing, no property taxes, most not consuming non-subsidized goods imported at the free market dollar, and you have a status quo like Yoanni Sanchez says above, that the impoverished “middle class” in Venezuela cannot understand, but that will only change when the Govt. money really runs out to the extent that even the daily diet of arepas becomes difficult.


      • And, a lack of aspirations of the majority of the vast 80+% D-E classes to really improve their lot in life, plus a traditional fatalism that, “…lo que sera, sera.”


    • I don’t think your math adds up… although in principle there are certain truths.

      Minimum salary is about $8/hr, or $1300 per month.

      Less Taxes: Say $1000 income/month. A lot of ppl that work for minimun wage do not pay taxes in USA or Canada. Furthermore I’m sure that with 12k a year the tax rate is WAY below 30%. In Canada you get back HST (IVA).

      Venezuela: No Taxes: 30% more income than most of the poor in other countries, right there. False from the above

      Out of the $1000/Net per month in the USA, poor people have to pay:

      Rent/mortgage: $1000 (minimum 1 bedroom) —– Vzla: Many ppl rent 1 room… students for example are paying up to 15000bsf for a room in a residence in Caracas o Valencia. Rest assured a room will not be less than a minimum wage. And just as people in vzla may live rent free (family friends, etc) people in the states may join the perks. In many cities in the states you can get a room for $300 or even less. Many people do it. Just look kijiji or craigslit.
      Electricity: $50 / Free hard to argue
      Phone: $50 / ? Cheap… but easily 10% of minimum wage
      Cable, Internet: $100 / same as above
      Obama care: $50 / mainly non-existent. and if you go to hospital they and are lucky not to be “ruleteado” they WILL ask you to bring everything from gauze to alcohol unless you are luck and some stuff arrived that week.
      School: ? $100 / Free (arguably they are free in the states as well)
      Car/Gas: $100 / Free Gas is free. However the cheapest car is maybe $1000 in black market rate and part or spares are impossible. A car battery may come to $1000 and tires… well just google it.

      Food (non-regulated, a lot more expensive, per person) $300
      Clothes, hygiene, misc: $100 this could go both ways.
      $1850/month net expenses.

      Or no less than $1000/ per person, IF, big if, sharing small apt with another family.
      No ranchos allowed here. There are MANY ranchos in the USA… get your head out of the ground.

      So, on paper, who is worse off, Purchasing Power, real living expenses? Venezuela.

      No one pays for most of the above items in Vzla.

      Except minimum food ?50$? , regulated, plus “bono alimentario?”. Every “necesidad basica”, if not Free, is a LOT cheaper than the USA. Many food staples are cheaper in the USA (always have and people who could went grocery shopping there since the 70s) the issue is to actually find shit in venezuela.

      No one with minimum salary,and zero Guisos on the side could afford it.. it’s mathematically impossible.

      Suddenly I don’t feel as bad for Vzla’s poor on “minimum salary”. Even if they are honest workers (I suspect many are not) they have most of the Largest Expenses for Free, or very cheap. Tax free too. Disagree for all the above.

      No wonder the revolution hasn’t arrived yet. Compared to the USA, they are just fine. You do the math.


      • Please break it down yoursleve, then. Item per item. Start with rent. Instead of nit-picking. Do your own math. Does-not-add-up. Hay Guiso encerrado. We should feel sorry for other Real poor hard-working people in many countries.. I respect them more., by now, as explained above and below.


        • Oh, and you are going to compare the Ranchos in Venezuela to “Ranchos” in the USA?! 10 Million there, 500 here, and most built to Federal Zoning building Laws and Specs? Zero rent, or electricity or water? Heck, do you know the cost of a Trailer, plus expenses in a Trailer Park..? Or taxes here, even for the poor, at least 10%, whatever, and ZERO taxes there

          And that’s a couple items… People just love to nit-pick..


    • I don’t think you know much about Venezuelans.

      Unless you live in a rancho or with your parents in Venezuela, you have to buy a house or rent.
      Nowadays only someone extremely rich could rent in Venezuela. A university professor could not afford to rent a tiny tiny flat in a lower middle class area of Caracas, not even for half a month.

      Internet: evidently, it is not free.

      School: you end up paying more than in the USA for the whole stuff and on top of that your children hardly get any lessons as teachers don’t go. Let’s not mention the academic levels of public schools are dramatically low.

      Car/Gas: $100 / free: evidently, no idea. Firstly: if you use buses, as most Venezuelans do, you actually have to pay net more than what I have to pay in Northern Europe for the same with a monthly card.
      As for cars: don’t you know what is happening to cars in Venezuela now? What the repair costs etc?


      • Cars are being stolen or stripped for their parts including batteries and tires. If a battery is stolen, you might as well junk the car. there is almost no way to buy another one.


        • Poor people in the USA, or anywhere do not own cars. If they do, they worked they Backs off for years, non-stop, to save enough for it, and then pay Insurance, full gas price, plus repairs. Mostly, they take the Bus, ride bicycles, and pay for it.

          Cry me a river about Vzlan spare parts.. Then they get free rent.


          • Poor people in the USA, or anywhere do not own cars.

            I will not speak about poor people not living in the US, but your statement is not accurate about people in the US who are classified as being poor. From How Poor Are America’s Poor? Examining the “Plague” of Poverty in America

            Nearly three-quarters of poor households own a car; 31 percent own two or more cars.

            More information at the link. But the poor in the US do not have access to the guisos that there are in Venezuela. Which considering the overall effect of guisos on Venezuela, is a good thing.


            • Ok, they might own some cars, as in Vzla. Any other Nit-Picks? There are a dozen other items to choose from which back-up the main Point.


              • Ok, they might own some cars, as in Vzla.
                Given that the overall motor vehicle ownership in Venezuela is 147 per 1,000 inhabitants, which is below the average for Latin America & the Caribbean, and nearly three quarters of the poor in the US own motor vehicles, I don’t understand your point.

                Any other Nit-Picks?
                The point is to be accurate. Call it nitpicking, if you will. Given the plethora of inaccurate claims that in-country Chavistas and out of country PSF have made over the years, I would assume that you would be interested in making accurate claims.


            • And thinking about it, it’s no wonder even the poorest in the USA might own an old car, even 2: Public transportation adds up, it’s not cheap at all, even with passes, and, more importantly, does not cover the distances required to work. In Miami, for instance you often have to take 3 different buses or rail and then walk to get around. You need a car, and Gas, ain’t subsidized, you see, 1500 Bolivares fuertes por galon, mas seguro minimo: 30,500 Bolivares/mes, mas repuestos, que si hay pero no te los venden barato los choros cerro arriba.

              So please, don’t use Transportation as an item to prove how “tough” Venezuelans have it..


      • Kepler, you get the idea. Please leave the cherry-picking to the brave, hard working Mexicans and others here in the USA or elsewhere.. I’m tired of feeling sorry for the “poor” in Vzla, compared to others. For the ample reasons listed above.


        • No, you do not get the idea. You obviously do not know how much a Venezuelan poor has to pay a month for buses, what percentage of his salary, if he has one, goes into that and how that compares to what people pay in the USA, Europe or else for the same time.
          Someone in the USA who still has no car buys a monthly, quarterly or whatever card if he regularly goes to work. Calculate what that costs to him and do the same to the only Venezuelan way


          • Ok, so you Nit-Pick among all the items that Transportation is Expensive in Vzla? And cheap in the USA or Europe? Fine. Even it that were true (Bus passes, in Miami are not that Cheap either)

            Far from Free:


            Why is everyone so freaking LAZY?

            Do you own Math, draw the big picture.



            • The curious case of Caracas

              Most of the cities on the list above have public transportation prices that more or less reflect the cost of visiting, but Caracas is an exception. Venezuela’s largely-disastrous attempts at planning its economy have contributed to Caracas being weirdly expensive for tourists, with the few international-standard hotels being among the most expensive in South America.

              However, if keeping the working class from rioting is very high on the priority list then using petro-dollars to keep public transportation nearly free can be a worthwhile strategy. The modern underground system there has a flat fare equaling about US$0.12, while buses are about US$0.28.

              Most travelers can cut prices about in half by changing dollars into local currency on the black market (so the metro would only be US$0.06 cents per ride), but even then other things are expensive compared to other large cities in the region.


              • Do you know what is the average and what is the mean in statistics?
                The average Venezuelan does not use the underground. You apparentlymix up Monaco as a whole with Caracas area covered by the metro and metrobuses.


              • The POINT remains the same, if some of you could read, that is. And it includes the Transportation overall Item, which actually reinforces the point I make.


    • Three quick points:

      1) Nobody making minimum wage pays income tax in USA or Canada.

      2) There is a huge food subsidy for low income folk. Google, “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program”.

      3) There are millions of low-income housing set asides in the USA and Canada.

      But, wouldn’t want to be poor any place. Now, if you have some smarts, and are willing to work hard, where would you rather be?


      • 1/ FALSE : Look it up.
        2/ False: Huge food subsidy? LOL. Food stamps? Miserable, look it up per person/salary

        NOTHING compared to the subsidies and proce of food in Vlza. NOTHING.

        3/ Yeah? Try getting free housing or a free Ranchito with Electricity and Water included in Califirnia or Florida. Then tell the Mexicans how it’s done, they still haven’t figured it out yet.


          • From your referenced article:

            “… the federal personal income tax provides refundable tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit, which can reduce or eliminate federal personal income tax liability for working families and even result in negative personal income tax liability, meaning families receive a check from the IRS.”


              • Listen, pendejita, instead of just throwing one-line retarded ad hominems, why don’t you go find some Tampers in lake Michigan? You contribute absolutely nothing to the conversation, bolsa.


            • More cherry-picking, instead of looking at the overall argument.. anyway:

              EITC and others are only a small deduction. I am very familiar all taxes here, after 20 years.. I used to benefit from both types of deductions, trust me it won’t pay the rent.


        • You tell it to the Mexicans; and the Guatemalans, Hondurans, Salvadorans, Dominicans…., they just keep coming.


  27. My Venezuelan brother-in-law wants his Cedula changed to say he is Chinese. Then he gets everything without standing in line. Cuban may also work.

    Venezuela is in the shitter with Maduro reaching up to pull the handle.


  28. In sum, when you consider what poor working people in other Countries like the US have to pay, little things like Rent, Electricity, full-price Food (mostly, a few “food stamps” only: peanuts, with many restrictions), Nothing Free or very Cheap, gas, meds, school, etc, all quite costly here, even for the poorest. And taxes, in one form or another, even the poorest people end up paying some. None in Vzla. Zero.

    Plus immigrants like the Mexicans here really work their tails off. They work much, much harder at Perdue Chickens or picking fruit in desert weather than most Venezuelans ever will. I say that after living and working 20 years in each country, close to the production lines and the poor people.

    Plus poor immigrants here, or say the local American black or Indian population, besides paying 100 times more in living expenses, some taxes, and working much, much harder than a “Polar” worker there, for sure, then they rarely have guisos, tigritos, and more freebies. They Steal much, much less. Here’ you see, it’s illegal. They will catch you and they can fire you.

    For all those reasons, enough tears for now for my own poor Venezuelan people. I’m starting to feel a lot more compassionate towards the Mexicans here and others who really work hard and pay all those expenses to help the economy run. No free gas. Rent, or back to Mexico. No “sweat deals” on the side. Not to mention the poor Chinese workers, and many others, abused.. but that’s another extreme.

    Poor Mexicans working their asses off in the USA!! Fair and square. Now that’s commendable.


      • Maria, no wonder Vzla is where it is. Why are you so LAZY?

        If you are going to criticize something, SAY something. Do some research, prove 1 little point, at least.


        • Ok…Cesar Chavez. I am going to stop watching a regatta on beautiful Lake Michigan to do my research.


          • Awesome interventions from Maria. Your insight and original views, specific, pertinent statistics , solutions are highly appreciated.

            And then we HAVE to elect women like this because TibiBitch said so..


    • Im told by some venezuelan friends who work in the US that no doubt they can lead much better lives in the US than they do in Venezuela , but that their work can be relentless and even oppresive because that improved life is never for free but has to be paid for. everything has a price and there is no shirking its payment .

      Its not how much things cost but what you can get for what you spend . Here its different because even if you work hard life is so much more filled with privations and stressess that there is no pay out to whatever effort you put in . Its nos how much you spend but the little you get from a life so scarred with limitations that dont exist in the US.


      • A whining, “oppressed” Polar worker, or agriculture Venezuelan worker, or PDVSA worker would not last ONE week working in the USA at similar jobs. If he/she even gets hired.

        See, people here REALLY work. Unions exist, but they are fair. In Vzla employers cannot fire anyone, even if they don’t work, even if they are caught stealing “Ley de inamovilidad, right?”.

        Heck, I don’t see ANY Venezuelans in Florida working blue-collar jobs. Maybe a home-care person (cachifa)..
        It’s all Central Americans, or Asians, those who don’t mind tough work.

        Go ask a typical Venezuelan campesino to go work in California picking apples under the sun for 12 hours per day, then go home and pay rent, electricity, water, gas, school, etc and some taxes.

        Try it. He wouldn’t last 3 days in California.


        • Recently read that the hardest working european now were the greeks ( in the past it was the portuguese) . least hard working of all ….surprise surprise …the germans !! 25 years ago heard a talk by a wise man (the head of a large corporation) who forecast that the european work ethic was slackening rapidly and that the people who appeared to be taking their place as the hardest working were people from east asia . China , India , Korea etc.

          There are sections of Venezuelas population that can be very hard working ( Trujillo farmers for example) but by and large the work ethic is less demanding than in the US. The sons of inmigrants are generally very hard working . Most Colombians of course. My father (who was NOT a Maracucho) , thought the maracuchos could be more hard working than most Venezuelans .


          • That’s very hard to believe. Mexico, Chile and the USA, Japan work hard. In Europe Germany MUST be working hard, to support the lying, lazy, incompetent Greek, and other poor-performance countries…


            then again:


            In Europe they work less and produce more / live better because they are much more efficient, advanced, and much better educated. That’s why they lead the world. Le Savoir Vivre.

            Venezuela is probably at the bottom of the list, 150 out of 196 countries, would be my guess. And if you measure it by ACTUAL working hours, not just what the Payrolls chimbos say, they must be among the Laziest on Earth, leeching off the Oil crumbles, bribes, tigritos, or just the nice weather, they are not forced to work anywhere near as much (generalization, of course, and mainly the poor)

            Productivity/worker would be more interesting, but hey, It’s Saturday and I’m in the USA.


            • I owe you a correction , the information really compared the amount of hours per year worked on average in each country , doenst say anything about the degre of concentration , dedication , application , intensity of effort typical of workers in each country !! Of course the key element is how well organized the effort is , and its productivity .Also of course their level of dedication concentration and accumulated expertise.

              Years ago I worked in a transnational company , locally people worked long hours , many did overtime or worked their week ends lots of people posponed or cut short their vacations etc while their european counterparts worked exactly the hours which their work schedule required of them , never missed a vacation and of course always got their work done . I figure that if you are well organized in your work you dont have to spend so much time in it. Also had subordinates who never worked overtime hours or during weekends , they simply worked the appointed work hours and never missd a deadline.

              Cant say the placed I once worked at was typical of venezuelans organizations but the work habits were as described . !!


  29. Interesting comments from people comparing the lives of poorer people outside with those of Venezuelans…

    What some people do not seem to understand is that what Venezuela has is NOT sustainable. Furthermore, the conditions make it impossible for poor people to save and accumulate capital to improve their lives. So, all they can do is survive day by day. There is no future, and improvement is not possible. Therefore, it is only human nature to do the minimum necessary to survive. Yes, there are many Latinos working like burros in the U.S. But, they do so, because there exists the opportunity to improve their condition. Or, at least provide a better opportunity for their children. Provide similar conditions with security and hope for the future and most Venezuelans will work just as hard as the Mexicans do.


    • The work ethos in Venezuela is weak , part of the core culture , there is a historic explanation we dont have time to go into but even if economic incentives can improve it the basic tendency in many people is to work as little as they can get away with . Poverty of course makes it worse because the pay out for hard work is not always there , but still there is a portion of the poor who do work hard and organize themselves so that in time they manage to improve ther quality of life for themselves and for their children , they are a minority but they exist , they are born with a drive , a vision , an ambition that propels them forward . We all know personally lots of people withint this category , who born poor made it good thru persoal effort.

      Still there are many who would choose to live tolerable lives rather than prosperous lives even if conditions allowed them through hard work to improve their lot. The govt showering all kinds of free or next to free benefits on them doesnt help things.!!


  30. This Palante character is amazing…the month’s troll?
    Just one more item: in the USA you have public schools. They might not be very good, but they are 100 times better, on average, than what the poor in Venezuela have to live with.

    This Palante guy probably doesn’t know, but the average pupil in a Venezuelan school sees her teachers probably half of the time as those teachers are very often absent and get salaries that do not allow them even to rent a little one-room flat in a shitty neighbourhood or buy enough food for the whole family.
    A Venezuelan pupil usually has to get most books and notebooks and all the rest, in spite of very occasional times when the national or local government gives him some bad quality publications.
    In the USA the situation is basically different.

    Venezuela’s public education might be “for free”, but for the vast majority it is a farce.


    • “This Palante character is amazing…the month’s troll?
      Just one more item: in the USA you have public schools. They might not be very good, but they are 100 times better, on average, than what the poor in Venezuela have to live with.”
      I never thought that I would ever agree with the first anglophile, kepler, on this blog, but the true is that he knows more that our new resident, Cesar Chavez, aka ” Parlante” about living in the US!


  31. My wife (an expat from Venezuela) and I flew into Maiquetía a few months after Christmas with gifts and dollars for her extended family, including many toddlers and teenage girls. Her father and uncles had their family business nationalized not long after Chavez took power and ran it into bankruptcy within months. They were left penniless after years of building up their company.
    Anyway, in regards to our US passports and her place of birth. We were singled out during customs and our bags searched. Fully half of our gifts (the latest, fashionable blue jeans for young women) were confiscated, and all of our dollars were exchanged (as a courtesy to us, they claimed!) at the “official” exchange rate. When my wife complained, she was threatened quietly and told me later that I would be jailed for smuggling if she continued on with her protesting. We had entered Venezuela with several thousand dollars for her family and for our expenses. They found about 1/3 of it and exchanged it for us. Anyway, after that experience, we doubt we will be able to travel to Venezuela again until freedom and liberty return.


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