Photo Essay: Is the World Catching Up to Venezuela?

Venezuela coronavirus shortages lockdown

By Yehudit Mam

April 14, 2020

What some developed countries are experiencing for the first time, like empty streets, closed businesses, basic staple shortages and a health care system caving under stress, has been a reality for Venezuela long before the coronavirus pandemic arrived.

The pandemic helps the Venezuelan government to muddle the reasons for the lack of gasoline and other shortages. At the same time, the U.S. is using Venezuela as political bait in an election year by issuing a reward for the capture of Nicolás Maduro, and announcing regime change plans to distract from its own mismanagement of the crisis at home.

These photos by Venezuelan photographer Carlos Ramos are a glimpse into the complex reality of a pandemic hitting an already failing system and what this system is doing to adapt and survive.

A gas station in Caracas is closed, not because of the pandemic, but because of fuel scarcity in one of the biggest oil producers in the world.

This freeway cannot be accessed without special permission due to the lockdown. However, Caracas was emptying even before the pandemic. It is estimated that almost 20% of the population of Venezuela has left the country.

On Teherán Avenue, an elderly woman scavenges for food, an increasingly common sight before coronavirus. But even she is wearing the obligatory mask.

People observe some social distancing as they wait at a water collection site. Water shortages are just one of the many challenges to which Venezuelans are now adding COVID-19.

Caracas is blessed with sunny weather year-round. Before, people could not go out because of the high crime rate. Now they are in lockdown because of coronavirus. Still, some fresh air is in order.

A nurse applies an antibody test to a policeman enforcing pandemic control. The government has organized strong quarantine measures in order to avoid a catastrophic health crisis given the deteriorating condition of the nation’s health services. Notice the eyes of Hugo Chávez watching over Venezuela from beyond the grave.

Security brigades arrive at a medical center to decontaminate it from coronavirus.

People that are suspected of having the virus are visited at home by disinfection teams.

Baralt Avenue, a usually bustling street in a working-class neighborhood in Caracas, is on lockdown. It looks like a war zone thanks to years of economic crisis.

After years of shortages, supermarkets in middle-class neighborhoods are flush with products. The government now allows foreign currency exchange, and because of hyperinflation, people pay with dollars.

In Caracas, one of the most dangerous cities in the world, wearing masks used to be for criminals. Now, it’s the law of the land.

Newspapers announce the arrival of thousands of coronavirus test kits from China.

RELATED: Venezuela: Between A Rock And A Pandemic



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