Diving into the heart of violence in Caracas

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.

About Caracas Gringo

Representing less than 0.00000000001515152% of the world population as of 31 December 2011.
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3 Responses to Diving into the heart of violence in Caracas

  1. Mamarracho says:

    Great photo essay with a style reminiscent of Apocalypse Now. In this case the violence that was once extraordinary is now ordinary … hmm, standard, ok, cotidiano. The scary thing is how violence and crime is creeping all over the country, even to places where one would never consider dangerous. Even biologists doing field work now have to consider how hot a certain place may be. More than one student field trip has aborted with loss of personal items and of course hard to replace equipment and materials.


  2. RWG says:

    Just look at Cuba, Chavez’ ideal system. Everyone is poor except Castro. Health care is bad except for the one bastard that should die, Castro. No one can own anything, except Castro. No one can decide their education or future, except Castro. Racism and hatred is at the core of Cuba’s government. Etc.

    And now even the oil money has been stolen by Chavez.


  3. Indeed…. I am not surprised at the poor getting away of all politic, as the opposition seems unable to articulate a rescue plan, so far at least.

    On another note, to your friend paying margarine at 45. I suggest to buy butter that I can find in San Felipe without much trouble at less than this 45. But they do love their margarine, don’t they! This has been a mystery for me, that even in major cities where refrigeration works well (power outages excepted) people prefer to buy synthetic margarine than natural butter. Where is Julia child when we need her?


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