It took us trips to 5 stores to be able to find chicken. The owner warned us that he did not know when he would get more. What is hard for the middle class, is that the poorer people have chicken and beans. They go to the government stores, stand in line and buy chicken at the subsidized rate. The rich people have chicken because they can send their maids to the stores. But those in the middle class don't have the time to stand in line for hours waiting to buy chicken because they have to actually go to work. So, I have not had black beans for many months now. And eat more fish and pork than I care for!
Christ told us the poor will always be with us. The middleclass were given no such assurances. Junglemom is on a mission from God, she wont leave Venezuela until Chavez kicks her out. Others however will and have. As you can imagine it’s no picnic being wealthy in the current environment either. Junglemom again:
We have been having a lot of student protests again near my house. I live in an area where there are several universities. The other day we could not get out of the neighborhood because the students had burned one vehicle already and ended up burning a bus as well. If you are on foot, they let you pass, but if you are able to afford a vehicle, you are the "oligarchs".
The oligarchs are in an even better position to get the hell out of there and I am sure most of their assets have already left. Would you invest in a country that was hell bent on nationalizing everything? Fabiola Sanchez reports that grocery stores have sporadically suffered shortages since 2003, when Chavez first started interfering with the free market. However things seem to be getting worse:
Survey results released by private pollster Datanalisis this week revealed scarcities of at least nine basic food staples: sugar, beef, powdered milk, chicken, eggs, rice, corn flour, sardines and beans.
Those that do find food do what anyone with common sense would do, buy as much as is practical. So of course Chavez puts the blame on "hoarders" and "speculators" and is punishing them when found.
Noel Alvarez, president of the country's largest business chamber Consecomercio, says the problem will continue to worsen unless the government eliminates policies which he blames for stifling production and hampering businesses.
He said overall demand outstripped supply by 100 percent last year. The shortfall has been met by imports, which rose to a record $32 billion in 2006.
This is only the beginning, wait till the effects of Hugo’s agrarian reform and state-funded farming cooperatives kick in.
"This is a disaster -- there are no eggs, there's no powdered milk, nothing," said Ramos, a 69-year-old retiree, visibly upset. "I need skim milk but because I can't find any, I'm drinking calcium with water. This is like Cuba."
Which is the point. Viva la revolution!
Update: Junglemom is being forced out.