As they endure a political crisis that has led millions to flee, Venezuela’s musicians are striving to make life worth living
‘Everything here happens at gunpoint,” someone tells me when I arrive in Caracas. Venezuela is in crisis, suffering from a lack of power, water and basic supplies and enduring widespread violence on the streets: the Venezuelan Observatory of Violence estimates that the country has the world’s highest murder rate at 81.4 per 100,000 people. According to the UN, around 4.5 million people have fled since 2015, escaping an economy in a state of hyperinflation and the authoritarian rule of president Nicolás Maduro.
The chaos has intensified recently, as opposition leader Juan Guaidó – recognised as the true president by more than 50 countries – was forced to storm a barricade of riot police to gain access to the country’s national assembly. Donald Trump has now rolled out economic sanctions to try to squeeze Maduro out of power – but they will squeeze an already embattled Venezuelan public, too.