Equal Opportunity Struggling

Life just gets harder for everyone. The middle class, the working class, the poor and sometimes even the rich – share some of the pain.

The day-to-day pressures on Caraquen~os are relentless. People were recently calling into a radio station talk show, saying now they were afraid to eat raw vegetables outside their own kitchens. Some people are now boiling drinking water as a precaution. Inflation has made the cost of food is so high, even residents who earn professional salaries say they cannot afford to eat out. It gets worse. Some employers are giving people the equivalent of food stamps to buy groceries. Still, even workers with a salary may scrimp on meals or food types to get by. Some food items remain difficult to find. When we crossed the border from Columbia, our driver made sure to pick up some cooking oil for her sister.

Then there is the crime. It is so bad that Caracas, once the city that never slept, has almost deserted streets at night. Even going for a short evening stroll is not safe in most of the city. People stay at home. Family and community relationships suffer.

Traffic has never been more hazardous; now it’s the increasingly aggressive driving of more and more motorizados (motorcyclists) and moto taxis. Caracas is not unique in its bad traffic, but the motorizados have stepped up the risk several notches, blatantly ignoring stoplights, recklessly zipping in between backed-up cars, and even driving straight into oncoming vehicle lanes.

And that’s how everyone, rich and poor, gets a chance to share danger in the streets.

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