Beautiful beaches, mountains that are full of life, warm bread with coffee, cheese on everything, intense card games, awfully translated TV shows, and the sweetest mangoes. If I told a stranger that these were the things that represent Venezuela to me, they would either think I’m crazy or they would laugh in my face.
What many people believe represent Venezuela right now is this: crisis, dictatorship, death, starvation, inflation, and corruption. Unfortunately, I can’t say they are wrong thanks to our dictador.
Two decades ago, Venezuela was a country known for its Miss Universe winners. Now Venezuela is showing up all over the news due to the humanitarian crisis it is facing along with the tweet President Trump posted about how he recognizes the opposition leader Juan Guiado as the legitimate president of Venezuela over the current dictator Nicolas Maduro.
Many people believe that this humanitarian crisis is being exaggerated or even made up by our government and the best thing for Venezuela is to leave it alone. As a Venezuelan, I can tell you that is not true.
For 20 years, Venezuela has been suffering under the regime of two different dictators with similar beliefs. First Hugo Chavez and now Nicolas Maduro. The only thing that came out of their leadership was the slow destruction of the country. The only solution to this problem is the removal of Maduro.
Over 20 years ago, Chavez was elected president because he represented change. He staged a coup to overthrow the president before him who wasn’t that great either. This coup failed and Chavez was thrown into jail— a place many Venezuelans wish he had stayed, including myself.
He eventually made it out, and was able to run for president. Venezuelans believed that the dramatic change he was going to bring was what they wanted, so they voted for him.
His presidency— if you can call it that— lasted for 14 years, until his death in 2013. Here is where his successor, Maduro, comes into play.
Elections were held soon after Chavez died and for the first time in a while, Venezuelans were feeling hopeful. Finally the time of change had arrived, many thought.
The only thing I remember vividly from the exact moment that Maduro was announced president was watching as my mom cried. She was crying for all of her family who lives in Venezuela, all of my family that lives in Venezuela. She was crying for those who had to continue suffering through this crisis and watch as the rich and prosperous Venezuela from 20 years ago slowly start to disintegrate under the Chavez and now Maduro regime.
Now fast forward to present day, and thousands of people are dying as Maduro held an unconstitutional election and was sworn in for his second term on January 10, 2019. The doubts people had about his first election being rigged were completely proven to be true after his most recent “re-elections”.
Not everyone agreed to these facts as I saw posts under the hashtag “handsoffvenezuela” start to infest my instagram feed. People were trying to spread false pro-Maduro information.
It’s a shame they don’t realize that they won’t stop me and hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans from protesting and supporting Juan Guaido, a politician who was elected by the people as the President of the Venezuelan National Assembly and has started to gain the support of members of the Venezuelan military.
Guiado has been serving as the interim President of Venezuela since January 2019, and has been recognized by several countries and most Venezuelans as the President of Venezuela.
He was able to step up, knowing that he was putting his life at risk, to be a part of the solution to Venezuela’s crisis. He has sparked hope in Venezuelans that they haven’t felt in a long time, a hope that Venezuela will soon return to the prosperous rich country that it was 20 years ago.