I want you to learn about the aggravated political, economic, and social situation that my country of origin, Venezuela, is living today. Venezuelans are facing the worst time of their history. On February 12, 2014, National Youth Day, Venezuelan college students took the streets to protest the illegitimate Castro-communist government of Venezuela. They protested the social economic crisis they live daily; from huge inflation, scarcity of food and basic needs items, to unbearable violence. Hugo Chavez won in 1998 with the promise of getting rid of poverty and bringing social justice to the nation. People were tired of the so-called right wing politicians.
Latin America, unlike the right wingers in the United States, is accustomed to applying populist policies. Hugo Chavez seemed like a great guy who had genuine intentions about helping the lower class and ending a long history of rampant corruption. However, this hope and change, like the exciting campaign that sold Obama to Americans back in 2008, ended up being the total destruction of a country. Venezuela has always had negative issues, but at least you still could find plenty of basic items at the store. After 14 years of Hugo Chavez, and one year of his pupil, Nicolas Maduro, the poor people who expressed that socialist ideas have been good for them are now faced with long lines and scarcity of food products. They believe it is madness for such a rich nation. The Venezuelan people have to wait in line daily for food, and are only able to get one thing a day. This affects the entire population, except for those that are in power, of course. In addition to food shortages, one person gets killed every 21 minutes. Almost 25,000 homicides took place in 2013, in a country with a population that is less than thirty million.
The worst part is that the government does nothing to fix the situation. The police do not investigate, and most of these crimes simply go unpunished. The government has become an accomplice in the increasing lack of security. However, the issue with Venezuela does not end here. As soon as the students started protesting peacefully in the streets, the government chose to use its military and police officers, who have used excessive force to repress and silence the students. The regime of Nicolas Maduro, Venezuelan’s illegitimate president, armed its own civilian militias to shoot down the crowd of peaceful protesters. The militia injured, arrested, raped, tortured, and even killed its own people.
Despite the human rights violations committed by the military and police forces, media in Venezuela remain silent about what is being done to citizens. The government controls absolutely everything, including the only internet provider. The government has instituted a virtual media blackout. Domestic independent media is nonexistent, and the internet has been cut off in many cities. While some foreign media broadcasters are still present, they have been censored by the government for fear of losing their operating licenses (Quintana, 2014). Social media has been Venezuela’s only way of getting information, but the government is trying to block websites like Twitter and Facebook. Little information is known about how many students have been murdered, because so many have disappeared since the protests started back in February of this year.
At least 44 people have been killed and 700 injured, 3096 detained with 208 of them being minors, 150 tortured, and 800+ missing since protests erupted in Caracas on Feb 12. However, this information may not be accurate since it comes from a totalitarian government who continues to lie to Venezuelans over and over, and win elections with fraudulent tactics. Either the Venezuelan people will get tired of protesting, continue getting abused by the government, and simply give up like the Cubans did with Fidel’s Castro , or other countries’ government and human rights organization will put an end to this horrible situation going on in Venezuelan.
About two months ago, a few US congressmen in favor of helping Venezuela regain its democracy, introduced and passed a bill. The bill will hold the Venezuelan government officials, and all the people involved in suppressing the peaceful protests, accountable for the crimes committed against Venezuela’s innocent people. We are waiting for the senate to pass it, and then the Obama Administration, who remains silent about this issue, will sign it. I also need to mention that Venezuela is oil rich, with its main customer being the United States. The government finances its crimes with money from the US. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and others members of Congress, have passed this legislation stating that United States has to bring justice to the Venezuelan people. “We cannot stand idly by while democracy and due process are trampled on in our own hemisphere,” she said, adding that the U.S. and other countries have a “moral responsibility” to support peaceful student protests.
One of the most important details included in the legislation written by Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen were that United States should urges responsible nations throughout the international community to stand in solidarity with the people of Venezuela and to actively encourage a process of dialogue between the Government of Venezuela and the political opposition to end the violence, but most importantly the resolution urges the Organization of American States to instantly convene the Permanent Council to seek the most effective way to expeditiously end the violence in Venezuela in accordance with the Inter-American Democratic Charter (Ros-Lehtinen, 20014). However, a dialog at this point is impossible since I believe this is a genocidal government and we should not sit with them to negotiate only to accuse them and bring them to justice for all the harm they have done until now. The advantage of Ros-Lehtinen’s resolution is that it will send a clear message to Maduro and his thugs. The United States will let them know that they stand for liberty across the globe, and is watching how they treat their citizens of Venezuela. Their abusive actions will not go without consequences.
Also, another advantage is the Organization of American States will immediately activate an Inter-American Democratic Charter that will uphold the basic freedom and guarantee peace in Venezuela. The United States should support Venezuela by setting up a special session of the Permanent Council to discuss the terrible situation that Venezuelan citizens live today. However, the Obama administration has been ignoring the subject. They do not think sanctions are necessary, and they claim it would hurt Venezuelan people. But this is not real, this is not an embargo. Instead we are talking about revoking the Visas and freezing their bank accounts. It will only hurt the wallets of the human rights violators who are killing our youth. Obama and John Kerry affirm that opposition needs to negotiate with the regime. But I apologize, Mr. Obama. The Venezuelan people, those of us with principles, do not negotiate with criminals. This is not a matter of the opposition, this is a matter of our people demanding justice. Since I am a citizen of both the United States and Venezuela, I can send letters to the Senate and the President asking for support the people of Venezuela by voting yes to the bipartisan legislation presented by Ros-Lehtinen.
Also, I should keep spreading awareness throughout social media outlets about the deplorable crisis that my country of origin is living today. All I ask is for people to search #SOSVenezuela on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. You will see what has been going on. Please support our cause for freedom, because you do not want these criminals entering our country. The president should care more about South America, but he has been silent about it. We do not get why he is ok with imposing sanctions on different countries, but not in Venezuela. I want to ask American people that protect your freedom, your right to bear arms, your right to protest, and your freedom of speech. Do not fall for socialist agendas, or you will see United States destroyed, just like Venezuela. Although the United States Congress may help Venezuelans get the word out about this situation, the OAS, who’s pillars are Democracy, human rights, secrutiy, and development, have failed at protecting democracy in Venezuela. These organizations either ignore Venezuela or ask for a peacefully dialogue. However, Venezuela is under a dictatorship dressed as a fake democracy, where human rights are continuously violated. Therefore we cannot make peace with these criminals. The solution is that Nicolas Maduro, and all of his administration, should be taken to international court. There they will be punished for what they are doing to the once free nation of Venezuela. In addition, there should be new presidential elections, with international unbiased mediation, as soon as possible in order to restore the democratic and peace in the country. I want to share with you these three links. The first is a documentary created months ago by NTN24, a private TV station in Colombia, which was kicked out of Venezuela back in February for showing the real news to the people. It describes what Venezuela in still going through today as you read this article, the number of victims keep increasing.
Please #PrayforVenezuela. References CNN News International (2014, January 09). Why so much violence in venezuela.
Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yp1jwSFUIMw Quintana, A. (2014, March 04). Venezuela: U.s. leadership needed.
Retrieved from http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2014/03/venezuela-us-leadership-needed Mazzei, P. (2014, February 25). Miami rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen files Venezuela legislation in congress.
Retrieved from http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2014/02/miami-rep-ileana-ros-lehtinen-files-venezuela-legislation-in-congress.html Ros-Lehtinen, I. (2014, February 25). Venezuela: U.s. leadership needed.
Retrieved from http://ros-lehtinen.house.gov/press-release/ros-lehtinen-speaks-house-floor-support-leopoldo-lopez-and-introduces-bipartisan