Nowadays, there’s a common headline you may find in any news website, TV or newspaper about the current situation in Venezuela, about the current humanitarian crisis that many Venezuelans have been going through during the last few years. Some blame the government, some blame the international interference of nations like the United States, and some might even deny the crisis and say that everything is going well in Venezuela, and all the hardships there might be are because of the right-wing opposition and the oligarchy that’s strangling people of Venezuela.
But very few actually make notice about what it’s like living in Venezuela, not as a tourist but as a common citizen of the Bolivarian Republic. So I raise you the question…
What It’s like Living in Venezuela These Days?
In many ways, you could argue that it’s like any other country, a country where the money you make one day it’s only worth half its value next week. A country where gasoline costs next to nothing but buying a used car with an average salary is impossible. A country where people use sewage water to bathe, clean, and sometimes drink. A country where finding medicine is a journey of his own. A country where being taken to a public hospital is almost a death sentence.
It might sound unbelievable to many, it sounds unbelievable that a country that has the largest reserves of oil on the planet, a country that has been known to be one of the richest of the entire region, a country that many on the continent have seen with envy throughout the decades has fallen into such a sorry state, but this is the average experience of a Venezuelan these days. That’s the reality that most of us live today.
A reality where you can spend your entire month’s pay and not have enough food for the day, a reality where you can wait weeks or even months for running water, a reality where you can spend days or weeks without electricity, a reality where many commodities are seen as luxuries, a reality where most people ask themselves whether giving up everything and running away to neighboring countries is better than continuing to live in their home country.
But Is Everyone Living like This?
Some people are lucky enough to not be living at the bottom, where their livelihood is dangling on a very tight rope. Many of those people are lucky enough to have a relative abroad who can help them by sending them money, or by paying others so that their family may have it a little bit easier. Fewer are able to use what limited resources they have in order to have a chance to make money for them to live, even fewer still cling to the wealth they earned back when the country was in a better state.
And What About Me?
How do I get through this? Well, I’m one of the lucky ones that are able to earn most of their money online. In many ways, I have become the main provider of my family. I’m just getting out of college, yet I’m able to provide a lot by just working in fields that are not of my expertise, just by the sheer inequality there is between the money in this country and the money of foreign nations.
Yet, my time is also on a tightrope. I wonder every day how long will be able to stand on my own. I wonder for how long will I be able to take care of my grandmother. I wonder for how long will I be able to keep myself going. More and more, the state of decay of this country is dragging everybody down, not just the rich, not just a poor, but everyone. Hospitals that run increasingly without medical supplies, people everyday go hungry to their beds, and many who simply scavenged whatever food they’re able to find.
So Yes, You Could Argue That This Country Is like Any Other Country…
Like any other country when said country is collapsing under its own weight. This is a result of decades of mismanagement from our government that has promised its people prosperity beyond their wildest dreams, but in the end, only ravaged the country from its wealth and plunged it into the worst crisis of its entire history. A government that everyday lies to its people, a government that seems to deny reality, a government that shows no empathy to the suffering of its people. And yet, the people continue to suffer, continue to be bound ever more to the government whims, continue to have their entire lives destroyed and their suffering left unnoticed.
My name is Daniel Barrios, and my story is just one of the millions that go on these days. There is plenty to talk about, and that’s what I wish to share with you. To give you just a little perspective on how things really are in this country, that’s my wish, and that’s what I hope will be added to the history books.