Being from South America and having lived in Miami, FL I have been getting a lot of calls about my “involvement” in the Venezuelan cause.
“Meli but this has been happening for years, why are you making such a big deal about it now?”
“Meli they’re just experiencing what Cuba did in the 60s, military repression, censorship, communism, and violation of human rights”
“Meli this has been happening in many other countries too…Venezuela is no different”
Or my favorite:
“You’re not even Venezuelan.”
Lets start by talking about this little gift we have called the Internet. It makes it easy for me to “care.”
What did Cuba not have in the 60s? The Internet.
Why should we care if this has been happening in other countries for years? Because a little window now to the world of what has/is/will continue to happen in countries with corrupt governments, if we don’t do something—is a window nonetheless. Whether it’s 50 years too late or right on time. This isn’t a competition of who has suffered the most or who deserves the most attention. On this earth, in a democratic society, we fall or rise together.
Why should we care if we are not Venezuelan? The most precious thing anyone ever gave me was my education. I am a student seeing other students denied the basic necessities that I have been granted and dying because all they want is security on campus and some goddam toilet paper.
Why am I making such a big deal about it now? I am brought to tears of joy that my sharing and posting articles on Facebook is “big enough” to be considered an act. That is beautiful to me. The fact that we can use Facebook to flood the newsfeeds of others with meaningful information is beautiful to me.
We can and do make ourselves matter. My freakin iPhone is just as powerful as any gun the Venezuelan armed forces hold because I have a share button. They can shoot one bullet; I can shoot a video to infinite amounts of people. The students taking pictures and videos and spreading them on social media are stronger than any government official. They have an audience, they can reach publics and they have us. The Venezuelan government disabled video and image sharing on their Twitter. We are still exchanging information with other countries through Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram and many others. We matter so much more than we realize.
Do you know what it means that none of us had to be in Venezuela to get a picture of a military official shooting at students? That CNN couldn’t get that story but someone my age could and did. That I have seen the faces of Venezuelan soldiers via Facebook? That there are no rules against that? That there is a platform to even reach someone in a different country?
This is the youth of a country fighting to live like the youth of a country, not warriors. The day that organized groups of people, participating in peaceful protests for a better life, are not “loud” enough for the world is the day democracy dies. And that day might come for Venezuela. They did their part and now it’s our turn. We owe it to them to spread the word.
Please spread whatever article, video, image, or status you can about the protests happening in Venezuela. We speak Facebook security settings and privacy controls better than any government. Social media will always win against censorship. Don’t apologize ever for speaking for those who can’t.
How many times did you hear about something because you saw it on social media? Tell me I’m wrong.