And just like that, in the blink of an eye, we’ve reached the first month of Venezuela’s ‘Social Quarantine’, can’t say its been a blast.
Just like with other extraordinary occurrences in our past, such as times of protests or socialism-induced shortages and lines, the effects and lifestyle changes that this quarantine has introduced to our livelihood have slowly been assimilated and have become part of what we consider, a normal life.
Everyone at this point should’ve became accustomed to the routine changes, the meddlesome nuances, and the precautions one takes when it comes to personal health and safety (and that of your family, friends and loved ones), without falling into borderline hypochondria.
The daily loop, now with quarantine
As I mentioned in a previous post, being a social recluse means that this lockdown hasn’t really changed much of my daily routine. The main change centers around our groceries and supplies, which I have opted to restock on a weekly basis.
Before all of this, it was common of me to just go to our nearest supermarket and get a handful of things for the next day or two, depending on what we needed at that particular moment. I’ve changed this to larger, and carefully planned weekly purchases.
While the ‘oh God it I better get me some more of x cause they might run out’ anxious feeling that is now rooted on our collective psyche as a result of years upon years of shortages is certainly a factor to consider, my main reasoning for the weekly groceries runs stems largely on the fact that I honestly want to wait in line the least amount of time and days possible—waiting in line for hours does get tiresome after a few years, you know.
Regardless of my peculiarities, one thing I’ve noticed in these scheduled trips to the supermarket is that people seem less jittery and distrustful of one another, at least in this area, which I attribute to the fact that the initial shock has subsided and people are now used to this routine of covering one’s mouth with a mask, wearing gloves, and have optimized their own schema of living in quarantine.
This particular supermarket is only opening their doors from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the lines do get out of control very quickly. My solution is arriving before they open so I can be among the first in the line, get our stuff for the week, and walk out with a bunch of bags in my hands, and a two-three million bolivares receipt in my pocket.
Real social distancing line hours pic.twitter.com/QffyEDidYw— Kaleb (@KalebPrime) March 26, 2020
This whole thing has and continues to be a very stressful situation indeed, just trying to take it easy as much as I can. The most upsetting part, from a personal (if not borderline selfish, given the state of things around the world) standpoint, continues to be the fact that the country-wide lockdown does severely put a delay in my legal migration plans, then again, this is something that escapes my control, and I can only hope that it passes soon so that I can get back on track.
I’ve taken up this newfound mandatory free time to learn up new stuff, ramp up work on Sword of the Nation, look back on things, and prepare for future plans. Although my health is one aspect that I continue to neglect upon, I honestly shouldn’t. I probably have a vitamin deficiency or something cause I’ve been rather anemic, and I’m running low on levothyroxine, so I’ve begun to ration it—I’ll deal with that later.
The mirage of normalcy
Depending on how much credibility you’re willing to give to the regime’s grotesque state media machine, things are in control and nothing can possib-lie go wrong.
As of the time of writing this, and according to the regime’s statistics, there has been a total of 175 cases of COVID-19 infection, out of which 84 have recovered, and 9 have regrettably lost their lives.
I’ll abstain from commenting on it because they ain’t fucking around and have been very trigger happy in this regard, skewing numbers is one of their specialties though. A journalist was arrested for the sole crime of reporting on a possible case under the excuse that he was ‘inciting hate’, peace through fear and all that stuff. He was released after twelve days in jail.
Surprising no one, their narratives are filled to the brim with self-praises on how well and amazing their job has been, and how incredibly bad of a job other nations (which do not align with the regime’s ideology) have done.
Regardless, I do hope the amount of cases is kept to a bare minimum, because we’re ill prepared if it were to get out of control.
The reality of shortages
Whether or not you want to adopt and accept this ‘normalcy’ as a sign that things are a-ok in the country is up to you, the reality is that things continue to be rough for most, and continue to worsen with each passing day—the collapse of this country continues ever so steady and a mandatory quarantine can no longer obfuscate this truth.
People will gladly stay at home and hunker down, provided they have the means and resources to do so, this is a luxury not everyone can afford. Some cloistered sectors of the country have never faced the full severity of these calamities, that has always been the case. Those more impoverished have begun to run out of food and money, and you can’t expect them to simply chill at their houses when they have to go out and work in order to get food for their families.
When it comes to shortages, the most impactful one happens to ironically be the only thing we produce(d) in this vestige of a potentially great country: gasoline.
Fuel shortages aren’t a new phenomena to the country, but it’s rapidly gotten worse over the past weeks, you know shit is real when the pampered capital, Caracas, is facing widespread shortages and seemingly endless lines of vehicles hoping to fill their tanks.
La Capital se enfrenta a— Angel Alvarez (@AngelAlvarezDip) April 9, 2020
kilómetros de fila para echar gasolina en la estación de ⛽️ Texaco en las Mercedes este jueves, la misma empieza en Chuao. #Miranda
Fuel shortages have become so extreme that protests have erupted amidst this mandatory quarantine period.
#9Abr 4:50 PM #Caracas #SinGasolina #Protesta Protestan y trancan la avenida principal de Las Mercedes en la ciudad capital por ausencia de gasolina.— Reporte Ya (@ReporteYa) April 9, 2020
Foto: cortesía. pic.twitter.com/74I1l2e9fP
Another protest started due to a refusal of selling gasoline to civilians.
#9Abr 10:30am Conductores trancan la Valle - Coche al no poder cargar combustible. Denuncian que no le quieren vender gasolina a civiles. Para la hora se mantienen cerrando el paso pic.twitter.com/Mg2XUVRb6F— Daniel Murolo (@dmurolo) April 9, 2020
The national guard’s proclivity for corruption doesn’t help either.
Water shortages, a source of eternal torment. Protests continue to erupt on areas where they have it really bad when it comes to access to running water.
#Ahora 5:25pm Vecinos de Colinas de Carrizal estado #Miranda dan ultimátum a @HIDROCAPITALca si no les colocan el agua hoy mañana a las 10:00am van a protestar nuevamente en la carretera #PNM. pic.twitter.com/2ksDeDFbLF— Yvan Piquel (@YvanPiquel) April 9, 2020
Just like the past five or six years of my life, water rations and shortages continue to dictate the rhythm of my life. The 24-72 hours per week that we do get water in this area are the only hours of the week when I have some flexibility and freedom in my daily activities, not having to strictly shower and do dishes throughout the one hour rations that those that live in this building have agreed upon in order to stretch the most out of the building’s tank and whatnot.
In one hand, the regime expects you to wash your hands and clothes regularly (they constantly emphasize on this throughout their media), to which I have to ask: With what water?
As for power well, I’ve been lucky *knocks on wood*.
No blackouts in this area over the past month, but there’s been annoying brownouts here and there, most of which have occurred sometime after noon—then again, Caracas has always had it easy when it comes to this when compared to the rest of the country.
Long and endless blackouts continue to disrupt the lives of Venezuelans that live outside this city, don’t forget that our electric grid is barely working.
Internet, the least essential of our utilities, continues to be in a most precarious state. Severe throttling continue to occur at specific hours of the day, which I’ve managed to sort-of palliate through some unlikely workarounds.
Strangely though, following a recent fire at one of their centrals, some (but not all) of the websites and services that had been blocked by CANTV (the regime’s ISP and by far the most used one) in recent years are suddenly unblocked.
I’m speculating here, gonna take a wild guess and say that it wasn’t an act of goodwill, but rather a mess up on a configuration somewhere. Chances are they’ll ‘correct’ this soon.
We’re a barely working nation as it is, and this pandemic ain’t helping with that regard. I sincerely hope our infected curve remains low and in control, because there’s still a plethora of shortages, woes, trials, and tribulations that we still need to collectively face as a consequence of the inevitable collapse of our Socialism of the XXI Century™.
Until next time,