By Claudia Del Pozo
Imagine this: You live in a country where the government has become completely corrupt. All media outlets are censored to keep you from knowing any information that your “leaders” don’t want you to know. Inflation has risen to an astonishing 53%, causing prices on everything to soar and making even the most basic products, such as milk and toilet paper, nearly impossible to find. Worst of all, in just a few weeks, fourteen senseless deaths have occurred, with countless more injured, as a result of what began as peaceful protests. This all may seem like a horrible nightmare, but for the people of Venezuela, it’s a reality, and it seems to worsen by the minute.
In the past few weeks, the world has been repeatedly shocked by the chaos that has ensued in the South American country of Venezuela. The country, widely known for its turbulent history in government and politics, has faced even more problems in the past year. Since the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez a year ago, the country has been led by Chavez’s successor, Nicolas Maduro. Although Chavez was an extremely unpopular ruler, even extensively being called a dictator, Venezuelans hoped that his protégé would make improvements to their socialist government, creating a more just system. However, these hopes seem to have been futile. Venezuela’s economy is plummeting, their media is completely censored, and crime rates are at record highs. Naturally, the people of Venezuela are not happy, especially the youth of the country, who feel that the poor economy is greatly diminishing opportunities for them. Outraged by their current conditions, thousands of Venezuelan citizens took to the streets on February 12, National Youth Day, in nonviolent protest of the corrupt government. Unexpectedly, violence broke out, with police forces using brutality against the protestors, even killing three people. Since then, the fighting has continued and utter chaos has broken out, with the death toll constantly rising.
Despite the enormity of Venezuela’s current problems, much of the world, and the U.S. in particular, are unaware of the situation there. This could be detrimental, as at this time it seems Venezuela’s only chance for a resolution to their conflict is the assistance of other countries. Junior Isabella Limonta was born and raised in Venezuela, and most of her family and friends still live there, making the conflict in her home country especially upsetting for her. “It breaks my heart since I was born and raised there and my whole family is there,” she expresses, adding, “…the only reporters that try to inform the truth get beaten up, or government-run networks transmit news with a complete spin.” This government control over news outlets has caused even more anger among Venezuelans and world leaders alike. Countless people have spoken out against the injustices that the Venezuelan people are facing, declaring that the government under Maduro is violating many human rights. If that is the case, foreign powers will likely intervene, in order to protect the citizens of Venezuela and attempt to restore order and peace. Isabella Limonta feels, as many do, that the best plan of action for Venezuela now is to organize a coup, or overthrow of the government, for which assistance from a global power is crucial.
Venezuela’s problems seem to be growing day by day, and if they are not resolved soon, the results could be horrifying. Government protests under the leadership of Venezuelan politician Leopoldo Lopez are providing the people of Venezuela with optimism for the future, but presently, that future seems to be very far away. For the sake of the Venezuelan public, world leaders will hopefully step in to help soon, but until then all anyone can do is wait, spread the news of Venezuela’s situation, and have faith that peace will be restored.