On the east side of this capital city, where the rich people tend to live, most children have stayed home from school for more than a week, protest bonfires burn in the streets at night, stores shut early and carnival celebrations have been canceled.
But on the west side, where many of the poor people live under tin roofs, you would hardly know that the country has been stirred by weeks of unrest. Schools operate normally, restaurants serve up arepas, and residents, enjoying the extra days off that President Nicolás Maduro has given the country, prepare to crown their carnival queens.
Both sides of this city, the better off and the poorer, are dealing with many of the same frustrations: one of the world’s worst inflation rates, hours spent in line to buy food and other basic goods in short supply, and rampant violent crime.
But while the poor are often hit especially hard by these troubles, the protests shaking the capital this month have been dominated by the city’s middle- and upper-class residents. They have poured into the streets of their neighborhoods en masse, turning them into barricaded redoubts. Yet in the city’s poorer sections, life has mostly gone on as usual.