After approximately 20 years of the depleting, violence-ridden, illegitimate Chavez-Maduro dictatorship, the people of Venezuela have rallied against the regime against all odds. We, the people of Venezuela, are taking our country back. On January 23rd, 2019, Juan Guaidó, the President of the National Assembly, was sworn in under the Venezuelan constitution as Interim President, amid the protests and commotion – after Nicolas Maduro stripped the citizens of Venezuela the right to legitimately elect their president. This is a call to action, a call to freedom, and we will not tread lightly.
According to the Washington Post, since 2015 over 3 million Venezuelans have fled their country. So much so, that this exodus is now being compared to the severity of the crisis in countries like Syria and Afghanistan. Never in my life did I think I would see my country get so bad. Yet, ironically enough, I am only 20 years old and the downfall of this beautiful country is all I have seen. For as long as I can remember, I have spent countless Christmases, New Years, 3-month long summer vacations, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and birthdays in the welcoming country of Venezuela surrounded by family and friends up until the country took a turn for worst. Nicolas Maduro has used every form of oppression to silence the people. He has yet to learn that we cannot be silenced. For years, he has been denying humans their most basic rights: letting people eat from the trash, or starve to death, because minimum wage cannot even get you a loaf of bread at the grocery store, dying in a hospital bed due to lack of medicinal resources, violently terrorizing, attacking and arresting peaceful protestors, and censoring the news and social media outlets so that the citizens of Venezuela truly believe that there is no way out of this madness and that they are completely alone. The world is now telling them, you are not alone. Considering I was born in the United States after my Venezuelan passport expired, I would now have to request a visa to enter the country – a country that I am so familiar with, that I consider it my second home. A country that is the blood in my veins, that as an individual, I proudly identify myself as a Venezolana. It is so much more than a stamp on a passport.
Nevertheless, we have persisted. Outside of the country, Venezuelans around the world have protested and marched our hearts out. Millions have flooded the streets in cities like Miami, Boston, Washington D.C., Madrid, Barcelona, Bogota, São Paulo, Santiago de Chile, Buenos Aires, and many more in solidarity with our beloved country. Unfortunately, it has taken blood, sweat, tears, and many innocent lives for the world to finally recognize what it is we are experiencing: a humanitarian crisis. February 22nd was a day filled with many emotions. I spent the day at work, in which any opportunity I got, I was glued to my phone watching the live stream of Venezuela Aid Live. Over 32 different Latino/Hispanic artists participated in this free concert at the border of Colombia and Venezuela. A concert that was organized by Richard Branson in order to raise awareness for Venezuela’s humanitarian crisis, to encourage donations to support those who are suffering, and reopen the border in order to let the humanitarian aid in. This event brought me to tears so many times, it was heartwarming to see just how many people stand with us, hundreds of people attended – many of which were not Venezuelan. It lifted all of our spirits to see the concert close with Colombian singer, Fonseca, and Richard Branson, hand in hand, singing John Lennon’s Imagine. On February 4th, there was a list of over 38 countries that have recognized Juan Guaidó as president, which since then the list has continued to grow. Guaidó has been our knight in shining armor, our Messiah, our diamond in the rough. We will protect him with everything and now that he is in the whole world’s spotlight, he seems almost untouchable. Through his strategic plans and charismatic personality, I am more than confident and extremely hopeful that he will be able to restore the country to what it once was. Maduro has tried to crush his spirits by making threats and prohibiting him from leaving the country, yet during Venezuela Aid Live, Guaidó found a way to make his appearance in Cucuta, to show us that he is willing to go the extra mile. In the short month that Juan Guaidó has been our Interim President, he has managed to turn the narrative around. I mean, he even got Chino y Nacho back together! It is February 23rd today and as I write this, I woke up to the news that four soldiers of Maduro’s regime in a tank knocked down the obstacles that were placed to block the entrance to Venezuela at the Colombian-Venezuelan border and have joined the fight to free our country. Today at 10:55 AM, the first shipment of humanitarian aid has made it past the border of Brazil and into Venezuela. This is just the beginning. Despite the repression, and despite the fact that Nicolas Maduro still has the audacity to maliciously order his soldiers to burn down three trucks that were bringing aid into the country, Guaidó and the persevering people of Venezuela are working tirelessly to get our country and its citizens all the help they need. We will not back down.
A country filled with natural resources, beautiful, hard-working people, and maybe I am biased, but it definitely has the best food you will ever try. As the song says, “soy desierto, selva, nieve, y volcán”, there’s nothing that Venezuela does not have and together we will work to get Maduro OUT and the humanitarian aid IN. Our fight will go down in history. Even if you are not Venezuelan, you are in South Florida, so chances are you know a few. My message to you all is: continue to support your fellow Venezuelans, send all the help you can, and if you cannot, send good vibes, thoughts and prayers, or whatever it is you do – keep on keeping on – because as Juan Guaidó said, “vamos bien Venezuela, vamos muy bien”.
Author: Tiffany Fernandez