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Venezuelans queue for hours to buy staples

In supermarkets, drug stores and sales of batteries for vehicles, Venezuelans look for regulated products in the middle of the economic crash

  • JORGE HERNÁNDEZ

20 de mayo de 2016 23:59 PM

PARA COMPARTIR

Venezuelans queue for hours to buy staples

People queue up to satisfy any need

A routine task, such as buying bread, or certifying, legalizing and authenticating a document in a government agency, has turned into a hardly attainable goal for Venezuelans. Nowadays, ordinary people must queue from six to eight hours for such purposes, commented Caracas Metropolitan City Councilor José Gregorio Caribas.

In Caracas, locals need to stand in lines for at least 20 daily chores.

Francisco Almeida, a community leader of El Recreo parish and an administrator from Andrés Bello Catholic University (UCAB) relates that the has queued for eight hours to legalize documents at the Ministry of Higher Education, after filing an application for an appointment on the ministry website in October 2015, granted eight months later.

Add to the list kilometric lines of local residents in search of food and drugs at regulated prices. “We lose our lives in daily queues,” noted Giseli Castro, a neighborhood leader of Baruta, southeast Caracas. She undergoes a similar ordeal whenever she goes to a public bank to collect her parents’ pension fund.

People also have to stand in lines at the Administrative Service for Identification, Migration and Citizenship (Saime) in order to get identity cards or passports, she stressed.

“Lines are formed in front of ATM’s, bakeries, municipal tax offices and offices for applications of consignments (…) Other citizens stay overnight in front of retail trades and ministries to buy a battery for their vehicles or renew driver’s licenses,” explained Zoraida Aguero, a neighborhood leader of Sucre municipality. She commented that she needs to ask for leave in her work in order to buy a medicine for her diabetes.

On Wednesday, dozen Chacao residents queue up on front of a bakery to buy a loaf of bread. “We just bake 180 pieces of bread per sack of flour. We just can sell the bread in the morning, by midday and in the evening because the raw materials are in short supply,” said the store employees.

In Los Ruices, east Caracas, thousand locals surrounded a major drug store because they pursued toilet paper and napkins. “My legs are swollen after so long queuing up. My children are at work. I have toured up to six supermarkets and groceries to buy few foodstuffs,” said Virginia Fonseca, a local resident.

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