These last weeks have been tough.
One day things look bright; you see some light at the end of the tunnel; the next day (sometimes just later that very same day) you feel like a mountain has fallen on top of you.
Venezuela has so many ways of making you feel trapped, but so does the rest of the world. We are living strange days, very unfair days. Every single country in the world appears to have agreed on some sort of self-destructive agenda. Of course, the decision makers must have their escape ship guaranteed. They are safely shielded from the blasts.
Everything feels like a re-run of a series that should have never been made. We hear confirmation that our currency will get one more "reconversion" and it's like, "here we go again."
Here I am, finally holding the one-million-bolivar bills that will shortly become 1 bolivar. The 4 million I hold in this picture are worth slightly over a dollar.
In a few months the government will issue new worthless paper eliminating 6 zeroes off the current notes. They will repeat the same platitudes about the measure being a shield to protect the people from the ruthless attacks of the capitalist empire and how this year (like the previous 19) will signal the launching of our economy towards a more diversified and automous one.
Anyone who has been listening carefully knows what all that crap means.
Venezuela will continue establishing negative records hard to beat by any economy, even by those under wars.
With the upcoming massive devaluation,every time you see the price of something expressed in Venezuelan bolivars, remember to add 17 zeroes to it. That would show you the magnitude of the economic disaster from 2008 (no sanctions, barrel of oil over $100) to the date.
Our escape ship keeps sinking without sailing. A job offer from abroad that seemed a sure thing became a no-answer interview. It gave us some perspective, though, about how much harder we have to keep trying and how selfish we have to be if we ever want to achieve something. We allow pesimism to embrace us and become stagnated forgetting that having things done and not needing them is better than needing and not having them. We will keep working on that.
Getting a simple ID has become a nightmare. But, the world does not see how exhausting it is for the average person to do things the legal way. They only see and criticize the overwhelming amount of illegal inmigrants who have been able to cross the whole continent North and Southward. They demand people to stay in their countries and fight for their rights; if they leave, the world want these people to enter their countries legally. Easier said than done.
They have no idea how hard it can be to get an ID, let alone a passport, a luxury not many can afford. The legal process was cancelled for months and thousands of requests dammed up, thus creating a parallel black market that raised the price of a simple passport from $200 (which is already a fortune for the average Venezuelan) to thousands of dollars, if you want the document quickly and your urgency forces you to sell any valuables to come up with the money.
Something as simple as getting the firefighters to cut a tree that has been causing structural damage to your property is too much to ask. They do not even have vehicles available to work; but they do have vehicles when they provide logistics for political events. They promote the very same government that has them underperform. They tell you if they ever come to "help you out" you would have to pay for anything from the gas and coolant for the saw to their meals.
The whole country has become a typical line poorly organized. You are supposed to be in it, but you have to decide whether or not you want to be part of the mess. They are blocking the street and the sidewalk. You ask them to please organize themselves in an orderly fashion, but they refuse. Do you stay and become part of the chaos? Do you stay and go crazy fighting windmills? Or do you leave and try to start from scratch even if that new place demands impossible to get documentation and will always see you as Other.
I am tired of poverty.
I am tired of looking at these elders struggling with their physical and mental health.
I am tired of feeling powerless; of doing just what is humanely possible, but without being able to solve the source of the problem.
I am tired of running into more buzzards than people; and honestly, some of these vultures can behave more decently than many people we run into these days.
I am tired of the lonely afternoons contemplating formerly lively streets turned into zombieland.
I am overwhelmed at losing every battle even against the smallest creatures.
Every time I have to discard books eaten by worms or whatever these things are I feel like I've been cursed. I spent most of my life studying and building up a library that my students and children could use. A library I would leave to another generation of avid readers, but the worms will have eaten them all before such generation of readers is born. We have a generation of avid readers who render books useless and obsolete. It's been hard for me to just give up on them, but every day I can see the futility of the effort to preserve what keeps geeting rotten, decomposed, obliterated.