Arab Today, arab today venezuelans long waits yield soap and intelligence agents
Last Updated : GMT 10:11:59
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Venezuelans' long waits yield soap, and intelligence agents

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Venezuelans' long waits yield soap, and intelligence agents

People queue up outside a supermarket in Caracas
Caracas - AFP

With long, everyday waits in line to buy milk or toilet paper, Venezuela's economic crisis is proving ever more painful, as President Nicolas Maduro's socialist government struggles with the inflation-wracked, collapsing economy.
"This country never was like this. Before, we had the freedom to buy, invest, to grow," said a man who only gave his first name Hernando, perched on a lawn chair to soften the hours-long wait expected outside a Caracas market.
Venezuela sits atop the world's largest oil reserves, and is an OPEC member state. But Caracas's long dependence on oil to fund its budget -- and long delay in diversification -- has been rocked by sliding oil prices.
And while some analysts say a deregulated economy could help pick up slack as the state reassesses its priorities, Maduro's government has kept controls on the exchange rate since 2003.
The government claims businesses have caused shortages, saying they are trying to "wage economic war" against him and hurt his popularity, now at under 20 percent.
Many businesses, however, charge that his government's economic controls have hurt them.
The inflation rate last year soared to a jaw-dropping 68.5 percent. And shortages have become so commonplace that some wealthier people pay others to wait in line for them.
- No waiting game -
Queueing for things as basic as diapers, coffee, soap or shampoo -- with tense, cranky and occasionally violent fellow shoppers -- has become daily fare in the country under 52-year-old Maduro -- political heir to longtime president Hugo Chavez.
"These days, we eat what the government decides to put on the shelves," a testy Hernando said.
One of the signs of the distress, he said: a black market salesman offered to sell him a pack of 32 diapers for 950 bolivars -- more than six times the regulated price of 150.
At the crack of dawn, Lorena -- who also declined to give her family name -- headed to queue outside Farmatodo, a private chain the president has accused of trying to "aggravate the people."
At 7:30 am, the pharmacy opened.
There was not much on the shelves, but an employee confirmed a truck was expected.
An hour later, the truck rolled up with a pair of National Guard troops who unpacked three boxes of soap bars, two of shampoo, and one very clear instruction: each person may buy up to two of each item.
Not more. That is because the government is wary of the black market.
"Two bars of soap and two shampoos. We hit the jackpot," Lorena murmured under her breath clearly frustrated with the not-so new normal.
At 35, she is a preschool teacher who like most Venezuelans would rather not spend the day in line in the sun.
In the crush of limited commerce, the shampoo disappeared in under a minute.
Then, with suspense building, and the crowd restless and the soap box still unopened, two SEBIN government intelligence agents stepped in.
They asked the pharmacy to return the soap box.
"This is an outrage!" one emotional shopper shouted. "We get two bars of soap -- or we don't even get them. And you people keep it all!"
State security officials regularly stand watch as Venezuelans stand in line.
And Maduro's government bars news photographers from taking pictures of lines, or of empty shelves.
Another woman in line at the pharmacy said she has spent three months trying to find an inhaler for her asthma.
She now hopes to travel to neighboring Colombia to buy one -- and enough supplies for a full year.
Protests over the shortages in recent weeks have been much smaller than last year after the defense minister in late January authorized the use of deadly force to maintain public order.

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today venezuelans long waits yield soap and intelligence agents Arab Today, arab today venezuelans long waits yield soap and intelligence agents

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Mohamed Bahari prepares new collection for spring 2017

GMT 06:15 2017 Monday ,27 February

Mohamed Bahari prepares new collection for spring 2017
Arab Today, arab today 17.4 million tourists visit UAE in 2016

GMT 00:47 2017 Monday ,27 February

17.4 million tourists visit UAE in 2016
Arab Today, arab today Sheds light on major steps in 12-year career

GMT 06:07 2017 Monday ,27 February

Sheds light on major steps in 12-year career
Arab Today, arab today UN envoy sets out framework

GMT 07:25 2017 Monday ,27 February

UN envoy sets out framework
Arab Today, arab today Ayat Abaza says state TV presented major stars

GMT 03:52 2017 Sunday ,26 February

Ayat Abaza says state TV presented major stars
View News in Arabic - Business: قضايا ساخنة
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Reading therapy relieves mental disorders

GMT 15:39 2017 Friday ,24 February

Reading therapy relieves mental disorders
Arab Today, arab today UK appoints 1st Scotland Yard chief in 188 years

GMT 05:14 2017 Thursday ,23 February

UK appoints 1st Scotland Yard chief in 188 years
Arab Today, arab today Penguins in the age of dinos

GMT 11:44 2017 Saturday ,25 February

Penguins in the age of dinos
Arab Today, arab today Pluto's unruly moons

GMT 06:31 2015 Thursday ,04 June

Pluto's unruly moons
Arab Today, arab today 'Constructive' Vauxhall talk with union

GMT 08:54 2017 Saturday ,25 February

'Constructive' Vauxhall talk with union
Arab Today, arab today Tesla back into red but revenue grows

GMT 07:27 2017 Thursday ,23 February

Tesla back into red but revenue grows
Arab Today, arab today Reasons for the delay 'On the Stairs of Servants'

GMT 06:42 2017 Saturday ,25 February

Reasons for the delay 'On the Stairs of Servants'
Arab Today, arab today Ex-yoga missionary unleashes rage

GMT 12:16 2017 Thursday ,23 February

Ex-yoga missionary unleashes rage

GMT 07:23 2017 Friday ,24 February

Ola Ghanem hopes to work with M.Ramadan

GMT 12:35 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

63-Year-Old Woman Delivers Baby

GMT 18:23 2017 Friday ,24 February

Fadi explains secrets of  Nancy Ajram's newlook

GMT 10:28 2017 Wednesday ,22 February

Milan laughs while Rome cries

GMT 19:45 2017 Monday ,20 February

Sarah Belamesh designs antiques of "ceramic"

GMT 10:51 2017 Saturday ,25 February

Pigs with edited genes show resistance

GMT 14:04 2017 Friday ,24 February

Messi visit will contribute in tourism

GMT 13:12 2015 Saturday ,09 May

Sheikh Sultan opens Sharjah Centre

GMT 22:42 2017 Thursday ,23 February

Nasima Gamei revives heritage in jewelries
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday