Same old tale

Month eighteen of Venezuela’s COVID-19 lockdown is done. Onwards, to the nineteenth month of our own version of The New Normal.

By this point, the ‘lockdown’ is, in essence, a symbolic status at best, and in many regards, a palliative measure for the country’s ongoing gasoline shortages and other problems. That is not to say life is back to what it was before March of 2020, as in our ever morphing reality, we’ve never been able to go back to how things used to be before it all started to collapse and all that.

For the country, it was your run of the mill month, completely stagnant and without improvement despite the apparent facades built by imported goods that say otherwise. Nothing has really changed for the better in the grand scheme of things, and there’s no reason to believe that it will — you just carry on with your lives to the best of your ability, dancing around the nuances of the flexible and radical lockdown weeks whenever these have an effect on your life (for example, having to go to your bank’s office or to any public office, which you can only do on the ‘flexible’ weeks).

The regime and opposition continue their collaborationist dance, attending faux negotiation meetings, fighting over who gets to suck up from the teat of our foreign assets, and gearing up for yet another sham elections. I am glad that I deliberately made it so that my vote doesn’t count for this upcoming elections, because even if it did count there’s no one who I’d vote for.

I may be beating a dead horse here, but despite what some (including the regime) claim, the country is far from being fixed. Just recently, ENCOVI (a project that seeks to assess the livelihood conditions of Venezuela’s citizens in lieu of official government data) published their latest report, where they determined that now 3/4 Venezuelans live in extreme poverty, and from an income perspective, 94.5% of the country lives in poverty.

Venezuela’s migrant crisis, second only to Syria’s, hasn’t ended, it has simply been slowed down due to COVID-19 lockdowns and travel restrictions, that’s about it. No amount of US imported goods, foreign digital payment processors, and greenbacks circulating in the streets can change that cold fact. The only reason I’m still here is because of these restrictions, from which new obstacles have arisen that I’m, slowly but surely, on track to overcoming.

As for the COVID-19 situation here, it all continues as it has been. With most of our public and private healthcare infrastructure collapsed and crumbling, it is extremely difficult to get proper access to health — and the pandemic makes it all that much more complicated.

COVID-19 took the life of another of my eldermost neighbors, as well as the life of a close friend of my family, both of which had pre-existing conditions that threw a wrench at any chance for a smooth recovery. While I don’t show it much, the death of the latter really affected me, as he was a good person and was always so kind to my mother, aunt, and rest of my family. From what I was told, he started to feel ill after a lengthy gasoline line which included a small protest at the sight of that ever so present blatant corruption that’s par for the course in these lands. Not much I could do beyond offer my condolences and prayers.

Vaccination in the country continues as a snail’s pace, and under the same schema: Russia’s Sputnik-V for the elderly, China’s Sinopharm for everyone else. The way things are shaping (and deep down I always knew this was going to be the case), I will have to stop dancing around it and get the Sinopharm shots if I want to travel, as come November this will be a mandatory requirement that I will not be able to overcome. It is what it is, I’m neither bummed nor thrilled about it, it’s all for a white piece of cardboard paper with a stamp on it, that I’ll now need alongside my dying passport and that visa that I keep working towards attaining.

Six fewer zeroes

September of 2021 marked the last month of the ill-fated Sovereign Bolivar currency, and as of the time of posting this entry, we’re living through the final hours of this currency and the arrival of it’s replacement: The Digital Bolivar.

Same deal as before, just with six zeros removed this time, for a grand total of 14 zeros removed in Revolution. By the time you read this most telecom payment services and certain financial institutions have begun to take down their platforms and suspend Bolivar transactions so that they can carry out the necessary adjustments and perform the required maintenance to adapt to this upcoming currency scale.

So, in a few hours, the 26.5 million Bolivars (roughly $5.8) that I still have on my bank will become 26.5 thousand, and we’ll get to do this rodeo all over again. This would be the fourth cycle, and to paraphrase a certain movie from the early 00s, we have become exceedingly efficient at it.

tfw we'll no longer be millionaries (for now)

Finding hope

On a personal level, September was, by far, the worst month for me in terms of depression, lack of self care, and the rest of my own personal and unaddressed struggles. It was a tiresome month filled with blackouts (including a ~12 hour one) and sudden power surges that not only damaged some of my appliances, but left me with an altered sleep schedule.

At the very least, I was able to regain some internet connection stability at a huge cost to my already slow speeds, so while it’s more stable-ish, it’s slower than what I had been running with since October of 2013. Every blackout resets this, so I have to spend hours doing trial and error until it settles. It’s quite annoying if you ask me.

Yet, despite my own personal struggles and downward depressive mood that consumed me throughout the month, hope looms in the horizon, and thanks to very recent developments I have not only regained a fair share of hope, I’m at my highest point when it comes to optimism right now — hopepilled, if you will.

If all goes well, I should have very great news to share soon.

In the meantime, I will continue as usual, detached from the country’s general affairs, just going by, minding my own business, taking care of my brother, working on my stuff, and clinging to this regained hope so that I can draw as much strength from it as possible, as I’m sure I will finally get to start that new life that I’ve been dreaming about for the past 3 and a half years very soon.

“The better one rests today, the stronger one will be for the road tomorrow,” a quote from a video game of all places, a very apt piece of advice that applies to my situation right now. So I will try to, for real this time, to focus on myself, to try to get some rest, to exercise more, and to get as healthy as possible, because I’m very hopeful that my journey will soon start at last.

Stay safe, take it easy, and have a great October. I love you all.

Until the next one,