New year, new life, same old lockdown.

It has now been ten and a half months since Venezuela was placed under lockdown. We did get to ‘enjoy’ a much needed respite during the month-wide flexibilization that occured in December, a conditioned ‘normalcy’ that allowed us to somewhat celebrate Christmas and New Years within the context of our ongoing collapse reality.

Venezuela didn’t really start 2021 until the 4th of January, and we were placed back on the 7×7 quarantine schedule from that day onwards. As a refresher, this 7×7 schema means that we go through a week of ‘radical’ lockdowns followed by a more ‘flexible’ week, pretty much what we used to have before December of 2020, but there’s some new caveats.

More stuff has been allowed to reopen its doors, movie theaters will be soon reopening its doors since March of 2020, with brand new dollarized admission tickets and quarantine measures. More offices have begun to reopen, including SAIME’s, our country’s civil registry offices. While more places are being allowed to open their doors, many can no longer do so because they did not survive keeping their doors closed for this long.

I took advantage of this lull month to try to distance myself from the country’s affairs and instead opted to focus more on Sword of the Nation and other projects of mine, making some substantial changes to the final pages to improve the narrative and action contained therein — almost done with that. I also got to enjoy a very simple birthday on the 9th, the first one that has been just my brother and me, without any other family member visiting us.

The regime’s official statistics, if you chose to believe them, has us as 125, 776 cases total, 117, 867 recovered, and 1,177 deaths. Again, these numbers are entirely up to you to believe. A few family members and acquaintances have told me that they’ve lost people to this pandemic, including people that I used to work with almost a decade ago.

Venezuela's official COVID-19 statistics as of January 31st

There’ve even been a few cases among my family (or what’s left of it rather), thankfully, they’re all safe and sound. My brother and I have both managed to stay out of harm’s way.

Any justifiable consternation that you may have over this pandemic is made worse by the precarious state of our health care infrastructure, both public and private — but fear not, for our Worker-President and Driver of Victories has announced a ‘miraculous’ solution that’s on the way. Droplets that totally and 100% neutralize the effects of the Coronavirus on your body.

If that’s not enough bread and circus for you, then how about changing our flag once more. Maduro has opened a ‘debate’ to include another star on our flag, which will honor Maracaibo, the cradle of my birth, a city that the revolution has brought to ruin.

I’m sure by adding another star to our flag Maracaibo will be fixed in its entirety, the blackouts will stop, and it’ll once again be the city that I cherish so much, of which only fading memories remain in my head, if only . . .

All in all, it was a pretty calm and quiet January for the country. Other than that, everything else has just been a repeat, from the water and gasoline shortages to the ever so present hyperinflation — this is, after all, our new, new normal.

Overall, there is ‘peace’ in the country, but it’s not the peace that should be. It’s a peace of exhaustion and tiredness, of hopelessness and political disenfranchisement, as there’s no apparent solution to our ongoing but stagnant crisis — so people instead have begun to focus on their day to day lives instead, doing whatever they have to do to keep surviving.

Even the fluctuations in power have resumed. I was starting to feel uneasy at the fact that I hadn’t experienced power brownouts in over a month but they’ve once again started to annoy my existence once more.

At this new quarantined reality further sinks its teeth in and spreads its root, things continue to return to what they used to be a year ago, and that includes crime, which is now back in full force around here.

It was a pretty calm and quiet January for this community up until a series of car battery robberies in the garages of several nearby buildings (including this one) put everyone on high alert.

Two men climbed through the roof of my apartment (our apartment is on the ground level) on the night of the 26th of January and broke into the apartment that’s directly above mine, entering it through a very narrow bathroom window that I’d have no hopes of ever fitting into.

One of my neighbors spotted one of the men as he was on the way out with some stuff and they scrambled, the whereabouts of the 2nd man were still unknown. The police was immediately called, and another neighbor reached out a nearby National Guard checkpoint as well.

Nobody was inside the robbed apartment when this happened, as the people that used to live there had to move at the insistence of the place’s mother (the father of the guy that lived there with his family up until recently). With no other way to enter the apartment, the police and national guard climbed through my roof in the same fashion as the robbers in order to inspect and take pictures.

As soon as the owner of the apartment arrived police went in the apartment and found no one, some things were indeed stolen. The people that reside in this building have grouped up to find solutions to reinforce our overall security while keeping in mind the precarious economical situation of the country.

My brother was asleep when it all went down, but I accidentally woke him up when I opened our apartment’s doors when the police came. He panicked and it took him a day or two to properly chill, but he hasn’t been able to sleep at night since then — I’ve been awake with him these past nights to keep him company, at the expense of inflicting sleep deprivation upon myself and worsening my insomnia and overall productivity.

This whole thing was a reminder of the absolute state of this country that keeps worsening with each passing day. What else can I do but to stay focused and redouble my efforts on that which mainly drives me: seeking a way to legally migrate with my brother and start a new life as soon as possible.

With the relevant offices once again processing passport requests I immediately began the process to get new passport extensions (getting a brand new one is a no-go right now). I paid the $200 for the two passport extension applications for my brother and myself, and as of the time of writing this post, I’m in the waiting period to get those stickers slapped that will breathe new life into our passports, alas, I still don’t have a visa, but the fight continues.

Almost there with my passport extension

There are a multitude of reasons, ranging from the state of the country, the hopelessness and lack of a solution in the near future, emotional, and deeply personal reasons that make me affirm that I don’t wanna spend another day in this country. I would’ve been long gone by now if it were up to me.

The Venezuelan regime has reopened flights to five different countries: Mexico, Dominican Republic, Panama, Iran, and Turkey. Out of those five, only the first three are realistically viable for us to travel in order to apply for our visas once everything is in order.

We’re not able to go anywhere without our passport extensions, so in the meantime, all I can do is continue working towards obtaining a visa, and making sure that both my brother and I stay safe. These lockdowns won’t go away anytime soon, and after ten months there’s nobody left that still needs to adapt to them.

Take it easy, and stay safe, see you on the next one.