by Szu Ping Chan, The Telegraph:
They call them bachaqueros. Venezuela’s army of black market shoppers descend every day at dawn outside Caracas’s biggest stores.
Named after the bachaco leaf-cutting ant that carries several times its weight, the men and women queue alongside hundreds of other Venezuelans for food, nappies, milk and other basic goods.
They stand for hours in the blistering heat, motivated not by hunger, but profit.
Half-empty shelves in most shops means goods bought at government-controlled prices can be sold at a significant mark-up.
Nicolás Maduro, Venezuela’s president, has described them as “human beings turned savage”.
But in a country where hyperinflation is quickly making the cash in people’s pockets worthless, it has become the only way to survive.
Some – dubbed bachaqueros 2.0 by the government –even resell goods on the internet.
“It happens more frequently now,” sighs Juan Carlos Bacalhau, a marketing manager who lives in the Venezuelan capital.
“There’s a lady that I pay 1,500 bolivars a day to clean my house, but recently she told me she’d rather queue and buy and sell products than work for me.”
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