The desperation of Venezuelans is growing along with the length of the queues outside state-run markets that reflect the economy’s downward spiral and helped trigger a wave of protests in mid-February which have claimed more than a dozen lives.
“When the head of household is absent, as we say around here, things start to get out of control,” said Pablo Nieves, a community leader in the poor 23 de Enero district of Caracas.
“If he were still with us, it would have never gotten to this.”
President Nicolas Maduro, the hand-picked successor of Mr Chavez, organised 10 days of commemorative activities to mark today’s anniversary of the larger-than-life leader’s death from cancer aged 58.
But while comrades may laud the man who transformed Venezuela during a 14-year reign by championing its poor, many do not agree with Mr Nieves that Mr Chavez could mend its compounding woes.
Mr Maduro’s government has shown itself unable to halt 56% annual inflation and crippling currency controls that have fuelled a growing scarcity of consumer basics such as from milk, flour, cooking oil etc.