The King and Queen at the Petare Market


When a nation projects such as vertical chicken coops, conucos, hydroponic orchards, a return to chalk and erasers, and furthermore, when research centers such as Intevep, corporate universities such as CIED are destroyed, or they are left to their own devices, these “advances” are nothing but a return to a form of feudalism.

The fate of institutes such as IVIC and universities is harassed; what is imposed and established in Venezuela is for its national journey to be the opposite path to that followed by prosperous societies.

Plainly speaking, the plan proposed by the Chavista regime at the start of the Bolivarian revolution in 1999 consists of moving back a country from capitalism to obscurantism, the ideal formula to multiply poverty. It is the real “endogenous model” intended to be an alternative to globalization and capitalism.

Acrylic on canvas, 2021. 1.30×1.10m

The Petare Parish

“I promise you that we will meet again in a cheerful, modern, and hygienic urbanization that we are going to build for you in La Urbina this year.”

With these words, President Rómulo Betancourt, “The Father of Venezuelan Democracy” and the 47th and 54th President of Venezuela, serving from 1945 to 1948 and again from 1959 to 1964 and who at the time of the quote above was already serving two years in the first magistracy, promised a better quality of life to the residents of the San Isidro barracks.

The invasions and the hamlets had covered the old Hacienda La Urbina and the young democracy did not hesitate to expropriate the land. Those streams full of animals according to the testimonies of the first inhabitants now had zinc and wooden houses.

The oil boom of the 1970s contributed to the proliferation of block and concrete houses, those terracotta-colored cubes that today dominate the landscape of the different neighborhoods of the parish.

A Government “for the Poor”

El Rey y la Reina en el Mercado de Petare (King and Queen at the Petare Market) takes its feudalistic title from the poverty-stricken Caracas parish, Petare, and is a modernist homage to Petare-based painter Barbaro Rivas. Although it has been said since the 1990s that the Petare parish is the largest favela in South America, there is no record to prove it.

There has always been poverty in Petare; however, the economic crisis began to suffocate Petareños in 2014. In Petare, the people live off the scavenging. Although most had permanent jobs at the time, no one ate and still does not eat from the wages they earn. Alas, the most vulnerable populations rely heavily on government bonds and food rations. A huge market encompasses the Petare streets, where stalls and crowds impede free movement and make it impossible to maintain order.

There are no longer traces of those fields and coffee plantations of the colony; the mountains are littered with unglazed houses that contrast with middle-class areas such as La Urbina, El Llanito, and Palo Verde. The Guaire River enters Petare already full of garbage and pestilence.