In the land of the bolibourgeois: Venezuela richest’ routine
Daily life of this small social stratum of the population clashes with everything else in the country
Among the richest people in Venezuela, one out of three took a plane and went to live in the destinations where they used to go to in the past just to cram their suitcases with products they couldn’t find on the Caracas shelves. The routine of those who stayed, a tiny layer of the country’s population, clashes with everything else. To begin with, their daily life revolves around the American currency, sent by relatives who live abroad or because they earn in dollars. “Inequality is more marked, as many people receive in bolivars”, says Maria Peredas, 60, sitting at a small table at the very select Golf Club, where the title costs US$45,000. As most doctors disbanded and specialists are rare gems, a doctor’s appointment costs up to 200 dollars. You see hundreds of upscale properties emptied by emigration for sale and there are mansions at half the price. Not everyone who can, however, ventures out. “After the expropriations by Chávez, who took my country house, I stopped investing in properties to buy dollars, which will still appreciate in value,” says engineer Marin Ayala.
A gang at the top of the pyramid has been taking advantage of the recent opening to imports to bet on businesses that are changing the landscape of the east wing of the capital, the wealthiest portion, where beautiful mansions are concentrated. However, to get a free pass to undertake in the world governed by the Bolivarian booklet, one must be well connected with the highest levels, hence the nickname by which the new entrepreneurs are known: bolibourgeois or enchufados (connected). Driving through neighborhoods such as Las Mercedes, you can see dealerships such as Makinas, where a black Ferrari is the first in the line of cars sold, only in sight, all bearing the República Bolivariana de Venezuela license plate. A little further on is 2 Doce Market, one of dozens of bodegones, delis filled with branded items from all over the globe. “Before, I ordered these things from Amazon or brought them from Miami,” says Nati Guerra, 39. Detail: One of the most popular items there is a rug stamped with the $100 bill, which shows the face of George Washington. More imperialist impossible.
* Translation by Áurea Carolina Coelho Móre