We’ve reported on the lines for food and shortages of things like toilet paper in Venezuela but this is really sad. The people of the Chavez lead socialist country are suffering so much that they say that ‘Christmas is Dead’ to them. They worry more about food than giving presents…Ah, socialism…
Caracas (AFP) – “Christmas is dead,” says Elise Belisario, who, like many Venezuelans, can’t afford to hang decorations or make a traditional holiday meal this year.
And 2016 augurs bleak times too in this staggering oil giant, where the new year looks set to bring political power struggles and little respite from a crippling economic crisis.
Belisario lives in the sprawling slum of Petare, on the outskirts of Caracas, which is suffering this holiday season from the shortages and triple-digit inflation gripping Venezuela — the twin tribulations of the once high-flying economy’s demise.
Where Christmases past brought exuberant decorations and balconies drenched in lights, this year Petare’s streets are drab and dark.
“There’s just not enough money. We’ve switched off Christmas,” said Belisario, a 28-year-old with two kids who recently lost her job.
When the oil money was flowing, Christmas was a consumer bonanza in Venezuela, a predominantly Catholic country with a flair for celebrations.
A woman paints stairs with Christmas colors at the Jose Felix Ribas community in low-income Petare n …
But that has changed as oil prices have plunged, and the opulent days under late leftist firebrand Hugo Chavez (1999-2013) have given way to the malaise plaguing his less charmed successor, Nicolas Maduro.
“We were rich and we didn’t even know it,” said Belisario.
At a nearby shop, cashier Olga Gonzalez, 50, dejectedly picks up the nearly empty piggy bank she has dressed up in a little Santa Claus suit in hopes of getting some traditional Christmas tips.
But there are no customers to leave them.
“People are more worried about buying food than giving gifts this year,” she said.
Exasperated with empty supermarket shelves, runaway prices and violent crime, Venezuelans gave the opposition a landslide victory in legislative elections this month, ending the Chavez movement’s 16-year monopoly on power.