L’Express of Paris has published a series of excellent articles by award-winning French investigative journalist Delphine Saubaber: “Plongée au coeur de la violence à Caracas,” reinforced by the powerful images captured by Venezuelan photojournalist Juan Toro. Ms. Saubaber’s articles are below the slide show.
Update: A longtime Gringo friend who has lived in Caracas since the early 1980s accompanied French investigative journalist Delphine Saubaber during her recent plunge into the bloody alleys of the barrios that surround Caracas.
“She’s fearless,” he marvels, while relating what he saw first-hand in parts of the city where sensible Gringo “musius,” and Venezuelans that do not live in the barrios, never venture into. He says that in the barrios they entered – Ms. Saubaber, photojournalist Juan Toro and our longtime friend –poor Venezuelans were unreserved in expressing their intense discontent with President Hugo Chavez and his Bolivarian revolution.
“The attitude of the poor is total disenfranchisement with the revolution, the government and the entire political establishment,” he says. “The mood is that this guy (Chavez) was the last hope, and he turned out to be the greatest rip-off in Venezuela’s history. If Chavez can’t do it, if he didn’t do it, if he screwed up, if he stole, then nobody can do it, and we’re fucked as a result. A deep cynicism is taking root among the poor of Venezuela in ways never seen before.”
A reader in the interior emails this anecdote: “I had to pay 45 bolivars for a container of margarine (mantequilla) that is officially price-regulated at 6 bolivars, but I went to 14 abastos before I found one with any margarine in stock.”
The “salario basico” – the basic wage – is only about 33 bolivars per day. The Central Bank reported a few weeks ago that food price inflation in April was highest in the lowest socioeconomic strata. In fact, rising food prices are having the heaviest impact on poor Venezuelans, and the Chavez regime’s actions are making the situation worse.