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

State of Decay


Alejandro Cegarra

13 May, 2016

Maria Vizcaya weeps over the coffin of her 5-year-old son Gabriel, who died in the shock wave from a grenade explosion during an exchange between police officers and gang members in Caracas, Venezuela.

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. He channeled revenues into welfare programs and building houses for the poor. 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 was born in 1989, in Caracas, Venezuela, which is the city he still calls home.  He began studying photography four years ago in the Roberto Mata Taller...

Technical information

Shutter Speed
Focal length
35 mm
Canon EOS 5D Mark III

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