How does the economic and politic crisis affect the citizens in their everyday life?
"The minimum wage does not provide for the purchase of a month for a family of five. Nor to rent an apartment nor even a room- in a middle class area of Caracas. " Just over a year ago so we started a text on the economy of Venezuela. Since then, the situation, far from improving, has worsened, and the Venezuelan daily moves between stretch a paltry wage for less and less food and struggling unsuccessfully against rampant inflation. As if that was not enough, now new challenges are added: the rationing deal with water and electricity.
In February, President Nicolas Maduro made several important announcements. The most significant, the rising price of gasoline, a move that was expected for months and not seen since the 90s Despite the increase, Venezuela remains the country where it is cheaper to fill the tank. Breakfast costs less than an arepa and juice. The increase still supply the processing costs and Venezuela still paying a millionaire subsidy each year.
The exchange restriction continues, more and more strongly because the country has less purchasing power in dollars with falling oil market and the price per barrel. Maduro also announced the modification currency system. If before there were three exchange rates, now there are two. The first, to import food and basic necessities, goes from 6.30 to 10 bolivars per dollar. The second, for other necessities, is under a floating rate that began in 200 bolivars per dollar. The dollar shortage still incites black currency market with an increasing cost. If by this time in 2015 the euro was exchanged for 300 bolivars, now trading at 1,362 bolivars per euro.
Maduro announced modification currency system, which will exchange systems three two
Since Hugo Chavez came to power in 1998, the minimum wage has gone up 31 times. The last, on March 1, with an increase of 20% that was Bs 11,578. With the new exchange rate is 1.052 euros in preferential exchange, to 52.62 euros floating exchange rate, and 8.5 euros if we consider the black dollar. In reality, the minimum wage enough to buy 15 cans of tuna or enjoy at most 16 lunches "executive type" in popular areas of Caracas.
Inflation is responsible for converting salt and water in the fifteenth and last of Venezuelans. According to the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV), inflation at the end of 2015 was 180%. Unofficial figures from the International Monetary Fund stood at almost 300% and expected to close 2016 with 720%. Even with dancing figures, it does not take an economist to realize in the street of the variation of the ever faster rates. As an official example, the price of urban bus fare cost 2 bolivars in 2010. In 2014 it rose to 6. During 2015subió three times, 10 to 15 and 20 bolivars in December. Just announced a further increase leaves it in 35 bolivars amounting to 50 in November.
Needless to say, the basket is unreachable. According to the Documentation Centre of Social Analysis (Cendas) in February cost Bs 126,975, is 12.6 minimum wages to complete required. And though the money had, it is almost impossible to obtain whole. The list of things that are not increased this year: the usual toilet paper, rice, pasta and cornmeal, beans such as black beans, lentils and toothpaste together.
12.6 minimum wages are needed to complete the basic food basket, according to the Documentation Centre of Social Analysis. It is impossible to obtain products
In the regular market there. Or if you get it is after making increasingly long queues and increasingly for fewer products. You can still go to bachaqueros, which are what the Spaniards were black marketeers in the civil war and the Franco regime, and find valuable treasures as soap or diapers, but at prices up to 15 times above the regulated.
However, a supermarket is depressed and may think that "things are not so bad." There are vegetables, meat, fish, and nuts. Basic missing that supply could think of other things, but it is expensive and not available to everyone. Only one kilo of tomatoes
is a tenth of the minimum wage.
Also surprised to see the letter of some restaurants: lobster, salmon carpaccio or tasty and expensive cuts of meat, washed down with fine wines, rum, whiskey. And it is consumed. Only, as with tomatoes, it is only one part reserved for increasingly smaller Venezuelans.
A patient in a corridor of the University Clinical Hospital of Caracas (Santiago Donaire).
There are things not moving heaven and earth, not having all the money in the world meet. And with more dramatic results. This is the case of drugs. Pharmacy Federation of Venezuela (Fefarven) gives a 60% shortage of medicines, which means that 8 out of 10 pharmacies do not have basic medicines. We tested with a random medicine, eardrops. We not find it.
People turn to social networks to ask for medicines not found. Just look out Twitter and search the hashtag # serviciopúblico Venezuela, it gives an idea. In a radio inside, the "Farma Rumbo" is useful for people to call and make requests of the medications you need. They also receive donations and through a list, you can access them.
People have had to turn to social networks to get the drugs not found.
A long queues for food with new ones, those were summed to get cash at the ATM. Inflation has made the highest denomination banknote, the 100 bolivars, hardly can buy a candy bar. In turn, banks only allow a daily withdrawal limit because of this bill, there is also shortage. In some places inside the country the situation is limit and gives rise to hustling. For example, in border towns of Bolivar, Zulia and Tachira, it is very difficult to find shops with point of sale, everything works with cash, but finding a bank is an ordeal. However, some people in all an opportunity, and there are shops where you can simulate a card purchase for cash with a penalty of 20% to benefit the storekeeper.
Nelson Merentes few weeks ago, the president of the BCV, raised the issue of new notes of 500 and 1000 bolivars, and will gradually eliminating low-denomination (2, 5, 10 bolivars). Still it has not said when this measure will be taken and, while still issuing new banknotes of 100, which helps liquidity but falls further in undermining the bolivar and inflation.
Venezuelan soldiers trying to control a group of people lining up outside a supermarket in San Antonio, on the border with Colombia, in August 2015 (Reuters).
If Venezuela wants to forget all this, to have a relaxed time, it is becoming more complicated, not only paid so expensive dinner or a movie ticket, but because of the curfew. For some time there is a curfew quiet, unofficial, it almost impossible to walk into a restaurant at 10 pm and find the open kitchen. On Sundays there are areas that look phantasmagoric Caracas from 7 pm.
Crime has been taking to the streets, spaces, and relegating the Venezuelan private spaces.
But what was once casual and insecurity, has now become the normapor economic reasons. Since mid-February the government introduced power rationing in public buildings such as ministries, working only until 1 pm. In shopping malls, roughly operate Monday through Friday from 10 in the morning, make a break of escalators, elevators and lights 1 to 3 pm and close at 7 pm. If you have electric plant, may extend this time. On weekends the schedule is as usual, till night.
Lynchings of 'thugs' have become more frequent in middle-class areas
Caracas suffers now and obvious way for years what happens inside the country, where blackouts and power outages are frequent every week. The same happens with water. Reserves the Guri dam, in Bolivar state, are at a critical level, admitted the Minister of Electric Power Liuis Motta. Drought blamed the phenomenon El Niño, although it is true that in recent years have not been taken or forecasts have been made new works or reservoirs or power lines.
In areas where before rationing was limited to one day a week, there are now up to four to five days without entering a drop. Still, these sectors are privileged, there are places in Caracas and inside the country and on the island of Margarita, where the supply may take even weeks.
With the rope around his neck growing, however Venezuela seems quiet at first glance. But the calm of what the figures categorized as one of the most violent countries in the world can not be like that of Switzerland, and although discontent now not manifested in large protests, does dropwise in small events. Fights between people of queues, increased aggressiveness, the increasingly frequent lynching of thugs in middle-class areas, the take justice into their own hands and their justification. Here nothing happens, but it happens all.