Most people who know me, know that I love to write. I thought it wasn’t fair to write about everything in my life, except for my country. I mean, I have written about my country before because it is an essential part of who I am as a person and I am extremely thankful for that. For this same reason, I think it is reasonable to tell the world what has been going on there. I want to reach out to people from around the world, because I know you’re there and I know you’re listening. I want to tell you guys how my country is falling apart, and since I’m not there to go out to the streets and protest with my family and friends, I am using the powerful weapon of words to support Venezuela in the only way I can: from afar.
Students are not in class. They are not worried about how next week they have a test for that class they think they are going to fail. They are not stressing about that 10-page paper. They are out in the streets screaming at the top of their lungs chants that only show their thirst for peace. They are talking to a government that won’t listen. They are crying their eyes out, mourning all those other students who passed away in this fight for freedom. They were strangers, yes, but the students see themselves in those deaths, because it could have been them. Yes, that bullet had Bassil Da Costa’s name on it, but it could have been any other student that is out in the streets protesting for their freedom.
So, when is it going to be enough? When will my mom not have to make a 40-person line in the supermarket to buy a roll of toilet paper? That is, when there’s any toilet paper in the store. When will my parents be able to fall asleep at night knowing my sister is out late at a friend’s birthday party? When will my family be able to go out to the streets and not be scared of getting robbed or kidnapped? When will I actually WANT to go back home to visit my family? Because, there is always the possibility I might not be able to come back to the United States. It hurts my heart just thinking about having to choose to not see my family just because I might get killed during a robbery gone wrong, so I always decide to go anyways. I wonder when will be the time when I’ll stop having to choose. And when will my country not be divided in two? The two political ideologies in Venezuela are so conflicting, that people tend to forget we are all Venezuelan and decide to be instead “Chavistas” or “oposición”. We have been through enough. We have gotten used to not going out of our houses unless we absolutely have to. We have gotten used to not eating basic things like chicken, just because we couldn’t find any in the supermarket. We have gotten used to hiding our phone anywhere on our bodies when we go out. We have gotten used to jumping at the sight of a man in a motorcycle. We have chosen to be quiet for way too long.
Ever since February 12th, the brave people of my Venezuela have decided to go out to the streets and not give up their freedom. Seeing the posters the students make bring tears to my eyes: “Mom, I went out to fight for Venezuela. If I don’t come back, I left with her.” – “Not everything is expensive in Venezuela: here, life isn’t worth anything.” – “There’s a shortage of everything, except bullets.” Many have been killed by our own armed forces, and many more have been wounded. TV Channels that show the reality of the current situation in Venezuela have been taken down. TV Channels that were part of the “opposition” have now turned their back on us. But Venezuelans are still fighting. They are not going to class, they are not going to work: they are fighting for a freedom that was taken away ever since we decided to give Chavez a chance, about fifteen years ago. Many were blind and chose to follow his doctrine, but he’s gone now. The Venezuelan government is trying to put a Band-Aid on a gaping wound and it is getting out of their hands. Let’s tell the world we have had enough. Let’s make those deaths count for something. Let’s show the Venezuelan government that we are not afraid anymore.
Thank you to those who are going out to the streets and fighting for those who, like me, selfishly decided to leave in search for a better future. For those who haven’t seen their families in years because they can’t go back home. For those who were kidnapped or robbed and left the country in a matter of days. For those who have lost their lives trying to survive in an unlivable environment.