A Diary of Trying, Mostly Failing, to Find Food in Venezuela

A Bloomberg reporter charts her efforts over a month
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2016 10:56 AM CDT
Updated Jul 24, 2016 7:03 AM CDT
A Diary of Trying, Mostly Failing, to Find Food in Venezuela
A woman sits on the stool she brought with her as she waits in line outside a supermarket to buy food in Caracas, Venezuela.   (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

Venezuela is in dire straits, and plenty of stories catalog how the nation's political crisis is setting off a humanitarian crisis as well. (Like so.) But for a more personal look, check out the diary kept by reporter Fabiola Zerpa at Bloomberg as she remains on a constant hunt for food and other necessities for herself, her two kids (ages 8 and 10), and her husband, Isaac. The first entry on June 9 notes that Venezuelan adults are assigned two days a week to shop for regulated staples at government-set prices based on their national ID numbers. Hers are Thursday and Sunday, though "Sundays are useless" because stores pretty much gave up selling goods on the weekend a while ago and Thursdays "are only marginally more useful" given the hours-long wait at supermarkets with no guarantee of finding anything. After doing a drive-by and determining the lines were prohibitively long, she doesn't even try that day.

Five days later, she does manage to buy vegetables, but meat is nowhere to be found. "And I pay about twice as much as I had just five months earlier." On June 25 she heads to a farmers' market, "a luxury I know that millions of Venezuelans can't afford" (the free-market pricing is illegal but flies all the same). "After spending an hour picking out fruit, vegetables and meat, I get in line to pay, (but) the Internet system that links the debit-card scanner to the banking sector crashes. ... A half-hour goes by. There are now 30 of us waiting to pay. ... A couple of elderly men give up. They put down their grocery bags and walk off. A few minutes later, I join them." She gives up once more on July 7—again her day for staples—this time after waiting a couple hours in line, never even making it inside her local supermarket. Click to read the full piece. (Read more Venezuela stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.