Drowned by the crisis in Venezuela, street vendors are excited about the reopening of the beaches

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Some towns are already receiving visitors after eight months closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Relief for informal workers.

“The whole world” opened up for Lisett when the beaches of Anare, a small coastal town in northern Venezuela, they returned to receive bathers. It was not easy, in times of suffocating economic crisis, to withstand seven months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The reopening of the beach is the whole world, the sky, the stars, because you know that this is where you can earn something to take home,” Lisett Pinto, a 53-year-old retired nurse whose livelihood comes from, told AFP. sell food at a stand on the beach.

Visitors reappear in Anare, located one hour from Caracas by road, and other towns on the Central Coast of Venezuela after the government of Nicolás Maduro allowed the reopening of spas in a gradual easing of quarantine declared in mid-March due to the new coronavirus.

“It’s not that you’re going to get rich … but you can fill gaps,” continues Lisett, who lives with her two daughters, 12 and 18, and a six-month-old granddaughter.

While frying some empanadas, this woman with a wide smile tells that sometimes she had to feed them only rice with a pinch of margarine.

Your income collapses without the beach. Her pension and bonus for 25 years of service as a nurse, a profession she had to leave due to cervical problems, do not even reach four dollars a month in a country plagued by the disease. hyperinflation and the constant depreciation of the currency national, the bolivar.

When bathers arrive on the weekends, by contrast, Lisett can earn $ 20 at her kiosk “on a bad day.”

Venezuela, of 30 million inhabitants, registers more than 90,000 cases of covid-19 and slightly more than 800 deaths, although organizations such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) consider that the official figures hide a much worse reality.

Seeing surfers riding waves is a frequent thing in Anare, where the calm breaks with the arrival of bathers. The bustle, however, can be synonymous with “tranquility”.

“It gives peace of mind, we feel safe, because we can open the business … and we are not going to have problems with the law,” Neomar Romero, a 41-year-old ex-surfer who used to earn a living selling boards during the last boom, told AFP. oil tanker from Venezuela, increasingly distant. Now he is a fisherman and his son, of the same name, surfs abroad.

The road heading to the coasts of the Central Coast is full of police and military checkpoints.

Neomar sold what he caught in his peñero to fishmongers, but one day his merchandise was returned to him. When he was returning home, some tourists approached him and asked him to cook four fish for them.

“They liked the service (…). I said to my wife: what do you think if we set up a business?”, He says at his beach bar.

The socialist government of Nicolás Maduro applies a system of quarantine which calls 7 + 7: seven days of “radical” confinement that forces businesses of all kinds to close, except supermarkets, pharmacies and establishments considered essential, alternated with seven days of “flexibility” that allow the rest of the economic sectors to be opened.

“The good week you collect money (…), the week you don’t work you have to spend it. It is impossible to save,” says Neomar.

Angélica Pérez, a 37-year-old teacher, seeks additional income by bringing food to bathers on the beach.

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