A young protester wears a sign that reads 'Venezuelan Student' in the center of San Cristóbal, the city on the border of Colombia where massive protests first began in 2014. The 'student' label is a response to allegations by Nicolás Maduro's government that protesters are not students at all but paid imperialist infiltrators being used to destabilize the country.
Since Hugo Chávez died in March 2013, Venezuela has spiraled into crisis. The new president, Nicolás Maduro, has struggled to hold together the socialist coalition his predecessor formed. Shortages in food, electricity, and medicine has led to riots; crime has spiked the already astronomically high murder rate; meteoric inflation, corruption, and price controls have caused the cost of some basic necessities to skyrocket. "This work is about inequality," says photographer Natalie Keyssar, "and a level of tension and sometimes danger so powerful in daily life it's almost palpable." Her photos also capture a pivotal moment for "an egalitarian dream in a country that had the natural resources to pursue that dream but now seems to be in danger of falling apart."
Keyssar's project was reported with the support of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.
LEFT: In Caracas, a young girl walks out onto her rooftop to watch her brothers fly kites over Antímano, the slum where they live. RIGHT: A ray of light cuts through Altamira, an upper-class enclave of Caracas.
LEFT: A tree stands in a small park near a polling place in Catia, a neighborhood of Caracas, the day government supporters lost their majority to the opposition in parliament. RIGHT: A family eats at a restaurant in Antímano, Caracas.
LEFT: A young pregnant woman in her room in El Carpintero, a section of Petare, a large urban district in Caracas. RIGHT: A rainbow arches over part of Cordillera de la Costa Central, a mountain range that divides Caracas from the Atlantic Ocean.
A National Police officer behind a riot shield is pushed backward by a crush of demonstrators during the March of the Empty Pots in Caracas in 2014, which coincided with International Women’s Day.
Gang members from western Caracas pose for a portrait at one of their stash houses.
A woman picks up a bag of leaves used as a barricade during a protest and throws it on the ground, shouting with rage.
A team of medics drives an injured protester out of Altamira Plaza.
People play in a park near a polling place on a parliamentary election day in the capital.