If you have recently heard of Venezuela, independently of your personal opinions, you know it’s a country that had it (almost) all, and now things are very difficult. Around 5 million people have left Venezuela and now live in other countries trying to have a better live quality, whatever that means for each individual.Read more
This article could be summed up by simply saying: “It is neither economically nor humanly possible to live in Venezuela”. But if it were, it wouldn’t be an article; it would be one more tweet about the Bolivar Soberano among billions of other tweets that talk about how suffocating it is to try to survive in Venezuela. Here, however, we want it to be something more complex, like the situation Venezuelans are going through.
People say that in difficult times, the strongest are born and, in Venezuela, many workers are taking that as a philosophy of life. Within the deep crisis that Venezuelans are going through, there are doors of light opening towards new and better ways to recover the future of the country. Theater, for example. The theater in Venezuela is experiencing a new boom, and without even realizing it, it is growing to rescue Caracas’s culture from the black hole where it ended up after being considered among the main art capitals in the world.
This Sunday the 20th, there will be elections in Venezuela and the citizen will choose who is going to be the next Venezuelan President. Many would think that this is the step we have been looking forward to for so long, but it is far from the truth. This electoral process was proposed by the Constituent National Assembly which is not recognized internationally as an institution of power, and which is the ultimate weapon of control developed by the government in 2017 and supported by (according to the government) 8 million Venezuelans. Let’s remember that just after the results were given, the company in charge of the election electronic system “Smartmatic” flew out of the country and declared the numbers had been altered. But, as it is common under dictatorships, nothing happened.
How is it to Live Without Water?
– Hi, this is Teresa, can I speak to Emmanuel?
– Hi Teresa, Emmanuel can’t come to the phone right now. He’s gone filling up some buckets with water.
– So, Luis, are you coming on Friday?
– I can’t. The water is on that day and I have to do the laundry.
[Text message] Excuse me, teacher, I couldn’t make it to class today because we’ve now been without water for 4 days at home and we had to move temporarily to my aunt’s house.
Venezuela Without Water
These conversations do not belong to a specific Venezuelan; they belong to most of them. Among the many issues that trouble our hearts, there is one that makes us run and set up our lives so as to be able to get it: water. Between the years 2016 and 2017 there were more than 9 million people who lived under strict water shortage plans and who received around 48 hours of water per week.
In 2010, the United Nations declared that having access to clean water was a fundamental human right but since the Venezuelan government has already a Master’s in violating these rights, the one related to water access was not going to be out of the list. Venezuelans are modifying their habits, routines, and life, in general, to suit the water plans and be at home when there is water in the pipes.
They do their cleaning, laundry, watering plants or similar chores only under these timetables and the rest of the week they have to use water containers very, very wisely.
According to the World Health Organization “enough” water per person refers to 50-100 liters per day, but some families are used now to work with 40 liters per day to drink and cook for all family members, or one bucket per person for personal use. It is hard to tell how many liters each home receives since water service is not measured anymore.
How We Live Without Water
Nueva Esparta, Falcon, and Carabobo are some of the states that have suffered the most with water shortage. Some families without water in Margarita, next to the beach, have learned to “shower” with one 2-liter bottle and use water from the sea to clean the house, flush the toilets and do the dishes.
Some other people are looking for water sources themselves, opening wells when they can. These natural deposits are being used without the proper revision by the authorities and may be contaminated so they are used primarily as a source of water for household chores and not for drinking or cooking.
Leakages, poor pipe system and failures in the general pumping systems directly affect the quality of the service in the country. Water that comes out of the tap is poor in quality because water processing industries do not have the resources and ability to cover the demand and process all raw water that comes from lakes and dams. These companies depend on government’s allocations which explains their deficit.
When compared to other Latin American countries, Venezuela’s water is extremely cheap, and therefore extremely inefficient. While in Peru water costs $0.3 per m3 and in Colombia $0.2 per m3, in Venezuela each cubic meter of water costs $0.000137. How can a service keep a quality standard if prices are close to nothing?
A Regular Day Without Water
Wake up early to go to work, take a shower with your 2-liter bottle and brush your teeth with one single cup, hopefully, your hair is still decent and you don’t have to wash it, yet. You have to shower with a container below your feet so as to collect those 2 liters again and use them to flush the toilet. Leave home, work all day and come back. Cook dinner and lunch for the following day using one or maybe two more bottles. If you have air conditioning at home, you may want to use its water to wash some underwear, remember to store soapy water for your next toilet flush. Dishes can wait, apparently tomorrow there’s going to be water on the tap. Apparently.
What to Do Now?
Regular citizens cannot do much to solve this problem. This is not something that can be solved by recycling, reusing. We are already doing that. It is necessary to invest and repair equipment, pumping stations, treatment plants, electrical pieces, and engines. It is necessary for politicians and people in power to stop stealing the money they should be using to keep the service working. I wonder if after all these problems and new lifestyles we are going to finally learn something about how to use resources correctly and wisely, or maybe we will just learn how to live without water.
A year ago, on March 31st of 2017, a group of students of the Central University of Venezuela (UCV, in Spanish) initiated what turned out to be one of the biggest and also the bloodiest protests in the history of Venezuela. More than a hundred days of continuous protests in the streets of Caracas and in the rest of the country. Days went by and the protesters got tired, scared, and finally stop protesting. Is the student movement in Venezuela dead?
“Simón Bolívar’s popularity in South America is enormous,” wrote Erik Hesselberg (1914-72) in his book Kon-tiki and I (1949). “So many things carry his name, including the hotel where I stayed [in Lima, Peru]. It was a very large hotel that covered one whole block in front of the San Martin square. That of Madame Rodriguez in Colon was a hut compared to the Bolivar.” This popularity is much more extended in Venezuela, where Simón Bolívar was born and first came to be known. For the last 25 years, though, the legendary hero’s name has been used to label a wicked version of Socialism that impoverished the country and made its people unhappy — and thinner.
Let’s skip one of the most dangerous cities of Venezuela and let’s focus on the “touristic” side of the country if there’s any left. Let’s look at why Venezuela is such a cheap holiday destination for tourists. The short answer: Hyperinflation!
The Local Committees for Production and Supply (CLAP in Spanish) are groups of people that, promoted by the government of Venezuela, get together and deliver boxes of food to citizens. According to the government, they are a way of fighting the economic crisis and shortage of food brought about by the economic war of the right-wing sectors of the country. So far so good, right?
While enabling the perpetuation of the tyranny of Nicolas Maduro’s Venezuelan United Socialist Party (PSUV) over the country, Russia and China seem to have become the last lifeline remaining for this red-wing authoritarian regime within a national context of humanitarian devastation and economic downturn. But just how much will Russia and China influence the fate of Venezuela?