Monday, November 24, 2008

Hoping to be Wrong

Before moving to Caracas we heard/read myriad reports concerning rampant food shortages throughout Venezuela. It seems following the local elections last fall, Hugo Chavez decided, under the guise of stimulating the economy, to fix prices on many basic goods (i.e. sugar, flour, eggs, chicken, rice, milk, pasta etc.). The result of this brilliant plan was that local food producers couldn't make a profit with the new mandatory pricing levels and stopped production altogether. And, as the cost to import goods is prohibitive many items simply disappeared from the shelves for months. The food shortages came to an end as the next round of elections neared and morale among the populace plummeted. Luckily, for much of the time we have lived in Caracas the stores have been fully stocked. However, in anticipation of a repeat of last year we have been steadily buying basic necessities in bulk, hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst.

No confirmation yet, but all signs suggest our fears are on the verge of being realized. In the last week I have been to several grocery stores hoping to find flour, but no such luck. I bought the last 10 liters of milk in a store I went to on Friday. I have seen signs limiting the number of quantities each customer can purchase of coffee and rice. And I haven't seen sugar in weeks. The elections were today and while the results are still unknown, Chavez cronies were not expected to do well in many key races. There were rumors of protests, riots, fires, coups and assassination attempts by the opposition and all manner of bribery, false reporting of results and voter fraud by Chavez and his associates. All reports suggest none of this transpired, but the slowly encroaching food shortages might just be the quiet, insidious result of an angry, dictatorial regime seeking retribution.

I know people all over the world go hungry every day, and I am grateful we have always had plenty. I also know we would not go hungry, we just might be eating a more creative fare. That being said, I don't relish an opportunity to put our food storage or my skills at getting 3 square meals a day from it to the test. I hope I'm wrong and that what we've encountered thus far is simply people like us worried about the future stocking up. But, if I'm right, we are entering upon an exceedingly unpleasant adventure.

Note: The pictures of the boys are irrelevant to the post except to demonstrate that presently they are healthy and well-fed.

22 comments:

Sara said...

Yikes! That is scary, and I hope you are wrong. Good luck and you guys are in our prayers.

Kristy said...

It is stories like this that make me realize how much we take for granted here in the US. I'm glad to hear you are prepared for the worst but we'll be hoping for the best!

alisa and sometimes brandon said...

Madness!

This definitely puts our economic "downturn" in perspective...

Oh, and I'm all over Paula's Pumpkin Gooey Cakes. Never had them, but this WILL change and SOON. Thanks for the tip.

Annemarie said...

Oh man...thank goodness for our knowledge of the importance of being prepared. Best of luck with this scarey scenario.

BTW, I chuckled at your commentary on the pics of your cute boys!

Jenibelle said...

Are you allowed to store food there? I know that in some countries it is actually against the law! If you can and can figure out a way to do, I sure would!!! This is sadly fascinating.

Laura and Steve Standage said...

Good thinking to be prepared just in case... And if anyone can be resourceful & smart enough to make 3 square meals a day out of food storage, it would be you Linsey!

♥Shally said...

Thank goodness you are prepared! Hopefully none of the rumors will pan out-- but you can at least breathe a little easier knowing you were ready.

two forks said...

i've been listening to the election news and thinking of you!

Hazen5 said...

I am so thankful for the little things when I read posts like these. Sounds like you are learning a lot, and really finding out what it means to "Be Prepared"!

Martababe said...

And I thought it was getting bad here. I least we have food. Do they have an American Commissary you can shop? We have started food storage, but I have yet to grind my own wheat and I fear what our meals would look like if I had to start. :)

Lindsey said...

WOW! Talk about adventure! That is amazing.

teresa said...

We never really know what we're signing up for, do we? Good luck!

Oh, and your boys are stinkin' cute.

GutsyWriter said...

I was curious if they have more expensive "expat" stores. I know they do in some locations.

Ilene said...

Crazy, crazy government. Those poor Venezuelans. They deserve better.

Sounds like a great excuse for a trip back home to the states.

Mibi and Lee said...

Wow..you know we hear about it on the news but to actually go to the store and not be able to buy what you need...that is scary. Thank goodness for food storage, huh? Im sure you will get creative if need be! Wont the US ship stuff in for you guys if it got that bad?

Cairo Typ0 said...

Last January during the "incidents" in Kenya food literally disappeared from the shelves. We went to the supermarket on one of the first really safe days and people were buying entire flats of maize and rice.

I'll be watching news on teh elections there and thinking of you.

Lisa-Marie said...

You are amazing. So positive and gun ho about life. YOu can do it. I hope you don't have to. But, if you do, you will survive and still be happy. I just know it. I'll be thinking of you. (And Santa is bringing us food storage this year for Christmas. If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear... Well, we're fearing!)

diane said...

I'm glad you are prepared in such a precarious situation. Your life is one adventure after another.

Lauren in GA said...

I take so much for granted. I am grateful for this post, I truly am. That sounds so scary, Linsey. You are very brave and you are such a great example of supporting your husband's profession. Truly :)

calibosmom said...

Holy Cow-that's kinda scary! If you want anything, just let me know. I can send Captain Crunch or rice or whatever you need!

gab said...

I am freaked out by this post. What do you need? We'll ship!

dana said...

Wow. That's a scary reality. Makes me thankful for the glutinous state we Americans live in (and embarrassed as well).

 

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