Race for survival in Venezuela

Race for survival in Venezuela 3

Of all the sacrifices due to Venezuela’s economic crisis, nothing would make Carlos Sandoval sadder than having to stop buying books.

But now, Sandoval has no money to buy books anymore.

The economic crisis in Venezuela spares almost no one of the country’s more than 30 million people.

Prices in Venezuela are increasing very rapidly.

People’s lives are even more difficult when food and medicine are scarce, public services are stagnant and crime is rampant.

However, affording it is just one challenge.

The country’s bolivar currency is scarce and has become a daily nightmare for people.

The economic crisis has pushed many families, both poor and rich, into difficult choices, making them feel insecure every day.

`Some simple things like withdrawing money from the bank, buying coffee or catching a taxi become a race for survival,` Mr. Sandoval said.

Some Venezuelans have begun to liken the current situation to wartime.

At first glance, life in Venezuela is quite normal, for a newcomer.

But if you look closely, those impressions will quickly disappear.

The pressure is most evident on poor people, like Ms. Beatríz (53 years old) – a nurse in Caracas.

`At that time, food was never a problem,` she said.

However, a few years ago, Beatríz was fired when the economy tanked.

`We have to choose between food and medicine,` she said.

Like many other poor people in Venezuela, she is gradually reducing the number of meals in her daily routine.

`It sounds like a lie, but it’s true. This is not living anymore, but existing,` she said.

Race for survival in Venezuela

Venezuelans often have to line up to buy food.

According to the Center for Labor Data Analysis and Monitoring, in October, the monthly cost of basic food for a family of four increased by 48%.

David is a 42 year old barber, married with 3 children.

Like many other families around the poverty line, they signed up for a once-a-month food assistance program from the Government.

`For a family of 5, this food runs out very quickly,` he said.

David also waits in line to buy basic food, if any.

However, David was not sad or angry.

The lack of cash is causing digital banking services to thrive in Venezuela.

Bartering is also a popular activity.

To make ends meet, he had to do many jobs.

A decade ago, his teaching salary was enough to pay all living expenses, and even left enough to buy a few pairs of pants and shoes.

Sandoval’s wife holds passports from both Venezuela and Spain.

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