Those who are unfamiliar with Venezuela’s unprecedented economic collapse might be surprised to learn that the country’s oil production has only slowed, even as the price of a barrel of crude has risen in most international markets.
Unsurprisingly (it’s Venezuela), there’s a macabre explanation for this phenomenon: The workers at PDVSA – Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, which once showered Venezuelans with oil wealth – are literally collapsing due to hunger and exhaustion as workers defy their government handlers and flee their jobs in their desperation as the value of their pay has been completely erased.
Bloomberg spoke with several workers in Venezuela’s oil industry about the harsh conditions they face on a daily basis.
Of course, oil workers aren’t the only ones suffering: The situation in Venezuela is getting so dire that ordinary Venezuelans are losing tons of body weight because of the food shortages. Many can no longer afford to buy meat.
One worker told Bloomberg about how his weekly salary barely pays for the corn flour he mixes with water and drinks every morning.
At 6:40 a.m., Pablo Ruiz squats at the gate of a decaying refinery in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela, steeling himself for eight Sisyphean hours of brushing anti-rust paint onto pipes under a burning sun. For breakfast, the 55-year-old drank corn-flour water.
Ruiz’s weekly salary of 110,000 bolivares — about 50 cents at the black-market exchange rate — buys him less than a kilo of corn meal or rice. His only protein comes from 170 grams of canned tuna included in a food box the government provides to low-income families. It shows up every 45 days or so.
“I haven’t eaten meat for two months,” he said. “The last time I did, I Click to see the original article