Broken and worn shoes, a crude expression of the crisis in Venezuela

Kervin, Alejandro, Carmen and Rafael walk through the streets of Caracas with broken or worn shoes; an image that matches the cracked and old asphalt of the streets of Venezuela, where each deteriorated footwear is the crude expression of the country's crisis with the largest oil reserves in the world.

They, like thousands of Venezuelans, face the difficult situation of not having how to buy even a pair of shoes of low quality, whose prices today oscillate between 700 and 3,000 bolivars (11 and 48 dollars, according to the official rate ).

For this society, which was characterized as being consumerist and for acquiring pieces of clothing from recognized brands, it is becoming increasingly complicated to buy any type of shoe, even the cheapest one.

The high-end ones have prices that can exceed 20,000 bolivars (322 dollars) and the average Venezuelan receives a minimum salary of 1,800 bolivares (29 dollars).

However, the value of the shoes is only a reference because it can increase in a matter of days or weeks due to the difficult situation that Venezuela is going through, with a daily inflation of 4%, and because it is a strictly regulated business for the black market dollar, today twice superior to the official one.

Under this scenario, more and more citizens who come to their places of work or study with broken and worn shoes; Such is the case of 21-year-old Kervin Martinez, a young graduate student of Pediatrics who assured Efe that he has not bought shoes for two years because the prices are very "high".

Martinez, who wore shoes with almost non-existent soles, indicated that during this time he has obtained "gifted" shoes or because his father sends him from abroad.

Carmen Rosa Ruda walks along with gifted, used and worn out shoes while observing the prices of a shoe shop in the east of Caracas.

The 69-year-old woman told Efe that she does not pay for a pair of shoes "since the crisis began," four years ago, "because, she says:" I eat or buy shoes. "

In the country it is already cumbersome to cover the food basket for a family of 4 people, since it also exceeds 20,000 bolivars, according to the Center for Documentation and Analysis for Workers (Cenda), despite the Government's attempt to control the prices of minus 33 food and cleaning products.

Ruda, dedicated to domestic service for which she receives minimum salary, told Efe also that she has several grandchildren and that at the beginning of the school year the members of her family raised money together to buy some of the children's shoes.

Others had to make do with shoes that were given, but already used.

An inhabitant of the center of Caracas who identifies himself as Rafael Pulido buys the soles of the shoes to put them on the used shoes that they give him.

"How do you win to buy some new shoes, how expensive they are?" Asked Pulido while talking with a shoemaker who sold him in 500 bolivares (8.3 dollars) the sole.

In addition, in the almost daily protests carried out by Venezuelan workers for low salaries in public administration, this has also been a complaint, since many of them show journalists their broken sneakers.

Shoes, which for many are an indisputable synonym of presence and elegance, in Venezuela are only a reminder of the poverty that in most cases is already extreme, because Venezuelans have a daily income of less than $ 1.25. establishes the UN to make this qualification.

The acquisition of new shoes is not easy for those who earn amounts above the minimum wage and this is what Alejandro Camacaro says, dedicated to the sale of insurance.

Although she does not have children and most of her relatives live in other countries, for Camacaro, whose clothing seems to correspond to that of an office, although shoes are quite broken, it is difficult to buy shoes because what she perceives is not enough either.

Meanwhile, Venezuelan parents juggle to make the money between food, medicines and essential items that their children require, including clothing.

In the middle of this scenario the shoe stores spend most of the day without clients or with Venezuelans who only observe from the outside the high costs that the Government wants to regulate, as the president showed last August as a measure to face the crisis.


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