The Reality Of Living In Venezuela: "The Supermarkets Are Empty"

25 January 2019, 08:52

This caller told Iain Dale that the reality of living in Venezuela - and it is not the socialist paradise that it was supposed to be.

The UK has joined the US in declaring Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country's legitimate president as mass protests continue over the nation's economic crisis and the presidency of Nicolas Maduro.

Odelia left Venezuela 15 years ago and now lives in Shropshire. Speaking to Iain, she explained where things started to go badly wrong in the South American country.

She said: "The private sector started to go down because Chavez started nationalisation. He took the private companies, private land and gave it to the people. But it didn't work."

Iain Dale heard the reality of what it's like living in Venezuela
Iain Dale heard the reality of what it's like living in Venezuela. Picture: LBC / PA

Venezuela gets a lot of revenue from oil exports, but Odelia said that money wasn't used properly. She continued: "The money was used for his projects. Free food was given to people. You didn't have to work, you got your free food.

"The very poor were happy because they were getting something for free, but but he didn't invest. He didn't invest in any infrastructure, he started bringing doctors from Cuba, but he didn't invest in the health system, so the hospitals had no money.

"It's so hard there at the moment. With the minimum wage for a month, you can only afford to buy a chicken.

"It's difficult for people to find the medicine they need. Even nappies and things like that, you cannot find in the country.

"The supermarkets are empty. People queue for long hours and sometimes when they wait, there's nothing they could buy, even if they can afford it."

Iain asked her what she thinks when people like Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell hold Venezuela up as proof socialism can work. Her response: "It makes me feel very sad. It doesn't work. It's a lie."