The quarantine is endless. And a mixture of pessimism and resignation took hold of a country in which it is already difficult to survive.
Patience runs out in Venezuela. Time is eternal and hopes of returning to normal fade after half a year of endless quarantine from coronavirus. A mixture of pessimism and resignation has taken hold of a country in which, if for many it is already complicated survive, beating the virus seems impossible.
“Horrible”, is the word used by the merchant Pedro Velázquez to describe the moment that the Caribbean country is experiencing, which the COVID-19 pandemic surprised in the midst of a deep crisis economic, political and social, and without resources to face a critical and unexpected situation.
Although the virus is not the exclusive patrimony of Venezuela and has put almost the entire planet in check, the South American nation was caught in a situation extremely critical, in which thousands of citizens do not even have access to running water, a fundamental resource to prevent infections.
Pedro Velázquez is clear about it. “It is very easy to say ‘stay at home’, but … ‘stay at my house’, I say to someone who has money, ‘and you let me stay at yours’. The rich are comfortable, but for those of us who live day to day it is difficult, “says Pedro, 62 years old.
The trader finds it easy to dictate rules to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, when it is done from “comfort” and “abundance”, regardless of whether the pandemic lasts for six months or a year. But their situation, like that of millions of Venezuelans, is quite different.
“People can’t go out to work, people have to be at home and that’s difficult when people need (the money) in the day to day at home, especially those of us who have family. It’s something difficult, “she reiterates between resignation and contained anger.
Velázquez is the reflection of those who have been affected by the pandemic on various fronts. He is the citizen who must take care not to get infected and, in turn, not to infect his environment. But it is also the father of the family that has to bring home the daily sustenance and the trader who cannot carry out his work due to the restrictions imposed by the Government.
If there is no work, “there is no market (purchase)” and if there is no market, the family does not eat. Pedro’s story repeats itself in every corner of Venezuela.
The last 6 months have also become eternal for Carmen Hernández, a 58-year-old retiree who, to increase a little the meager income that her pension reports, of just two dollars a month, makes Crafts which he then sells on the street.
“It is a disaster and here they are not fixing anything, there is no production, there is nothing. What there is is hunger and a lot of crime. Seeing the situation, we are to the good of God,” he said.
In his opinion, the Government of Nicolás Maduro “has done nothing” in the six months of quarantine to resolve the situation of the most vulnerable.
“The half year of quarantine is very hard. It has not been possible to work, there is no production, there is nothing, there is no way to buy, the money is not enough. This country devalues up to the dollar. I live on a pension and it is not enough for me “, reiterated Carmen, who confesses not knowing what to do to face the remaining time of restrictions, an uncertain and indefinite period that increases her anxiety.
The six months of quarantine that Venezuela accumulates failed to reduce infections, but on the contraty. This half year has not reached the inflection point in which the downward trend is reversed, not even momentarily.
The progression was contained between March and July, a period in which the cases of infected were registered dropper, at least, according to government information, questioned from the first moment by the opposition and by the citizens.
The same happened with the death toll. According to government information, there were long periods without any deaths due to the virus. According to government data, while in the rest of the world, thousands of people lost their lives every day, Venezuela linked 35 days -of April 20 to May 26- no deaths by COVID-19.
This data and the few infections reported raised praise on the one hand and distrust for another. Some admired the management of the pandemic by the Executive and others criticized the opacity in the transmission of information.