2019 Photo Contest, Long-Term Projects, 3rd Prize

State of Decay


Alejandro Cegarra

03 August, 2013

A man holds up a portrait of Hugo Chávez during a political rally led by Chávez’s successor Nicolás Maduro.

31 March 2013 - 19 March 2018

Under Hugo Chávez, president of Venezuela from 1999 to 2013, the country experienced the biggest economic boom in its history. Venezuela has the highest proven oil reserves in the world, and Chávez took office as oil prices soared in the 2000s. Chavez used these revenues to nationalise key industries and expand social programs as part of his plan for a more equal, prosperous and secure nation. However, by the end of Chavez’s presidency his government’s policies were unsustainable, leading to a faltering economy, increases in Venezuela’s homicide rate, and on-going corruption within the government.

His successor, Nicolás Maduro, has overseen a country in spectacular decline. Oil prices crashed in 2014, and Maduro’s attempts to continue welfare programs led to government over-expenditure and ultimately hyperinflation, a situation compounded by US sanctions. Political tensions have escalated with increasing shortages of food, medicine and other essential items. Protests are widespread, and according to the Venezuelan NGO Observatorio de Violencia, the predicted rate of 81.4 violent deaths per 100,000 inhabitants in 2018 makes Venezuela the most violent country in Latin America.

The photographer picks up the story in 2013, starting with Chavez’s death, and aims to tell the story of a crumbling country from the inside.

About the photographer

Alejandro Cegarra

Alejandro Cegarra (b.1989) is a photographer from Venezuela whose work explores the essence of belonging, the pursuit of a home, and the denunciation of human rights violations i...

Technical information

Shutter Speed
Focal length
17 mm
Nikon D300

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