Now in Venezuela, what to believe
Posted: Saturday, December 14, 2002
I arrived in Venezuela from Canada a few days ago. Am now in one of the Caracas barrios at one of these wonderfull little internet places.
This morning on TV, the media is spending alot of time on gasoline delivery truck "accidents", implying that it is because the people driving the gasoline trucks (who according to the media are replacing drivers who are supporters of "el paro") are inexperienced, drunks and inept. Reporters just "happen to be there" to report on the accidents as they occur. They interviewed one of the drivers who responded to them that he had been driving for several years. Later, after the "live reporting", it seems that the news people suggested that the driver may have been drunk. Oh yeah, sure! Suddenly there is a series of "accidents" involving gasoline trucks that are attempting to re-stock the gas stations so that people can go on with their lives.
On another note, the "acaparadores" have started their activity (apparently several days ago). In the barrio where I am, (one of the large ones), all stores are open, internet places, restaurants, cabinet makers, mechanics, etc. The same hustle and bustle as usual. The only immediate difference is that we cannot buy certain things; Polar beer in small bottles, Malta en boteilla, cigarettes and sodas. Isn't that funny!
Easy for the opposition to "acapararse" of some basics, and blame it on "el paro". Of course, they own or control most of the the industries such as Polar. They are also the instigators of "el paro".(Rumor also has it that "Harina Pan", the basic Venezuelan staple, may also be pulled off the market.)
People in this barrio (and I suspect that in most barrios it must be similarly so) are saying that they are open for business as usual because they HAVE to work. This is the best time of the year for them business-wise, allowing them to make a little extra money to better enjoy this X-mas season. According to most people I have been talking to, only the people who HAVE money (such as much of the opposition and conventional media operators) can afford to "not go to work". They can also afford to stock up on "Harina Pan".
Yesterday we ate arepas con queso y cafe guarapo. Nine people living in a 4-room home. I bought some Malta en lata for us since I can afford it; 3000Bs. for 6 cans. Also bought 2 whole BBQ chickens at 5400Bs each (the minimum wage around here is under 200,000 Bs. monthly - figure it out - and some, such as my friends here are not getting full salary due to stoppages).
Yesterday I reserved an airplane ticket with Aeropostal (to travel within Venezuela) for a friend, while at the same time the media was announcing that Aeropostal had joined "el paro", and everyone we talked to told us that it was useless to even think about it since it is being announced in the media that all or most of the transportation sectors are shut down.
My friend left this morning with no problems.
When I asked about bus travel between cities, EVERYONE here told us not to bother since there is no inter-city bus travel, since there is no more gasoline and since many of the bus lines have joined "el paro". I called, many lines are open, and I am picking up my tickets later today, for travel early next week.
A little note: As far as I know, in many countries "acaparadores" would be heavily fined in proportion to the social damage caused by such abuses.
Go on, those that can afford to stock up, and let your minimun wage earners suffer the effects of your support for "el paro".
p.s. Must say that I enjoyed Gerald Crowley´s letter, " What do they really want?"