Venezuela Protests: A Fight for Freedom

By Alesondra Cruz

One week ago, I knew nothing of the situation in Venezuela.

As I left the restaurant where I had just eaten dinner, I noticed an assembly of people chanting something in the middle of Sugar Land Town Center. Of course, being my curious self I had to see what they were up to.

They were proudly holding up signs that read “paz”-peace- and draped banners over their shoulders. People of all ages spoke of the hardship the Venezuelan people are enduring. Many of them were sobbing at the thoughts of their own family members still living there. During the rally, many families spoke of what Venezuela meant to them.

“Para mi, Venezuela es mi familia,” said a women with a Venezuelan flag proudly stationed on her back. In English, this translates to “for me, Venezuela is my family.”

It was clear these people were incredibly passionate and emotional about this topic. I thought to myself, “how can something so important to these people be going on, without me knowing about it?”

That is where my research began.

Hugo Chavez was well-known across the world as a socialist leader and president of Venezuela. In March of 2013, Chavez passed away from cancer, leaving a void in his position. Nicolas Maduro, who worked along side Chavez, was his hand-picked successor. Acccording to CBS News, the majority of Venezuelans must have remained loyal to Chavez’s socialist ways, considering that Maduro won the election on December 8th, and is now the current president of Venezuela.

Regrettably, Venezuelans feel that Maduro is not doing his job effectively. Many of Chavez’s supporters no longer root for Maduro. Venezuela is now infested with even more crime, corruption, inflation, and economic troubles. The poor, who were once advocates for Chavez, are now facing food shortages. The people feel they must do something.

According to BBC News, thousands of people have gathered in the capital, Caracas, to protest these issues with the government.

Leopoldo Lopez is one of the major leaders of these anti-government protests. He was arrested on February 18th, due to his efforts with protests.

“We must continue the peaceful struggle. There is no reason to give up our fight,” said Lopez.

Unfortunately, a peaceful protest is not what Venezuelans have recieved. Eighteen people were killed during recent protests. According to BBC News, President Maduro believes protest-related deaths are more than 50. In one video, a young women spoke of her school in Caracas being unsafe. She said that due to these protests and the crime rate, many students do not feel safe enough to go to campus. Not to mention, school supplies have been stolen and running water has been cut off.

It is these young adults who are being affected the most during these protests. The youth of Venezuela are passionately risking everything for their country.

This violence has led to a new war. Many Venezuelans are protesting for a simple human right: freedom of speech.

The biggest thing most people can do right now is simply spread the word of the situation and pray for Venezuelans and their safety.

The people I saw at the rally in Sugar Land Town Center are not the only people taking a stand.

“The world must wake up to what’s happening in Venezuela, as the government’s unprecedented wave of repression is beating, jailing, and even killing innocent Venezuelans, particularly its young people,” said Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.

“I’m going to bed praying for my country,” said Juan Pablo, star of ABC’s the Bachelor.

With the help of these well-known people in society, and even normal people in town center, the stories of the hardships in Venezuela will be shared, and the hardships will be stopped.