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February 13, 2018

LATE-STAGE SOCIALISM: ‘It’s humiliating’: plight of Venezuelan middle class is pawn shops’ gain.

Not so long ago, Nelly Osorio used to drive a newish car, drink a glass of whiskey every Friday night and get a manicure at least once a month. But today she is waiting outside a pawnbroker’s to sell off her jewelry.

Like many members of Venezuela’s dwindling middle class, Osorio, 60, has seen her life change drastically over the past two or three years.

The country’s minimum wage is 797,510 bolivars a month – about £2.40 at a black market exchange rate. Osorio still owns an apartment in the eastern part of the capital and as a chemical engineer, she earns 10 times the minimum wage. But every day, she feels poorer.

When her youngest son’s university fees were due, neither Osorio nor her husband had enough in their bank accounts. So she headed to the pawn shop to sell off a gold ring.

“It’s humiliating,” she said, as she waited outside.

Plus, this being The Guardian, the obligatory Command-F:

It’s a mystery what went wrong.