Freedom Through Violence: Maduro’s Venezuela

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As of January 23, 2019, the U.S. President Donald Trump officially recognized Juan Guaido as the interim president of the Republic of Venezuela.

Following this, mass protests sprouted throughout Venezuela in support of Guaido. The U.S. recognized this decision, giving way to the possible removal of Nicolas Maduro from power. Nicolas Maduro is the successor of the famous Venezuelan ruler Hugo Chavez following his death, giving way to the continuing trend of socialism in Venezuela but turned for the worst.

He’s been accused of sending Venezuela into it’s worst economic depression ever and a large rise in violence and crime throughout the nation following a possibly rigged election. What was once ranked as the happiest country on Earth by the Guiness Book in 2008 has turned into a nation with low food, medicine, running water and electricity.

Violence and mass protests increased, with CNN reporting that approximately 40 people killed and more than 850 people detained in the recent days coming from the decision. CNN also reported that last Wednesday alone, roughly 696 people were detained, and the number of detained people is expected to only grow in the coming days.

Venezuela’s currently bracing for what may be the biggest revolution in their history since their liberation from Spain in 1819. Maduro’s followers argued that in the midst of the chaos, he was voted through a free election and the people simply got what they wanted. However, despite his massive unpopularity, he won the election with 68 percent of the vote, a landslide as reported by the Venezuelan government.

Multiple countries, including the U.S., didn’t officially recognize the results of the election due to the corruption.

The New York Times said that economically the nation is facing its worst state in history. To put this into perspective, Venezuela is reported to have the world’s largest oil reserves, currently hurting it’s interest in investment. Other goods such as food and medicine have reported to have been inflated by about 13,000 percent, the highest rate on the planet.

The New York Times also reported that because food is so scarce, it’s very common to have entire families malnourished. It’s very common to see families eat no more than just twice a day, with little proteins and vitamins needed to live. As a result, citizens have dubbed these conditions as “Maduro’s Diet” given the results of his regime.

Recently though, the U.S. government had recognized Juan Guaido as the interim president of Venezuela and labeled Maduro’s government as illegitimate. The U.S. joins multiple countries and unions in recognizing Juan Guaido, such as Brazil, Argentina, Peru and the European Union. On the opposing side though, nations such as Mexico, Bolivia and Russia have taken and recognized Maduro’s government, with Russia being Maduro’s greatest ally.

The Japan Times reported that Juan Guaido has called for more protests and military defectors against the regime, and multiple supporters have looted weapons and other accessories needed to take down any government building and force in favor of Maduro’s reign as reported by Reuters. The Venezuelan people have responded in joy and relief, as the crisis had been neglected by multiple countries over the past few years and is now being shed a new light on.

Here at Morton Ranch, the events unfolding have taken a toll on some student’s lives, given that some have family in Venezuela struggling through this crisis.

Santiago Valencia, 11, said his family over in Maracaibo lack food, clothing and basic necessities. His aunt told him that everything is extremely expensive, and sometimes they go days without food as a result of the inflation.

Another student, Vivi Romero, 10, said her family fled to multiple places around the world given the crisis. She continuously goes to local protests, given that she believes people should spread as many messages and ideas, both online and vocally, to help spread awareness of the crisis.

She also said the Venezuelans have a current motto that helps them pull through it.

“El que se canse, pierde or those who get tired, lose,” she said.

Additionally, Hanna Llanca, 10, was fortunate enough to move to the U.S. right before the crisis reached its start. She and multiple others believe the crisis had been building up for years, long before Hugo Chavez’s death, as he used the same methods of popularity as other notorious propaganda-infused dictators.

Hanna said her grandfather is a Chilean immigrant currently living in Venezuela with a PhD, but his life has been torn up since the crisis. He currently gains no salary for his job, and he waits in long lines for food that he may or may not even receive in the end.

Her grandparents are currently surviving through lentils, and other boxes of food being mailed from her family and other family members. He has apparently been robbed at gunpoint multiple times and threatened with the death of a family member.

All three of these students aren’t supports of President Trump but have definitely been in favor of his decision to intervene in Venezuela. They all believe that supporting Juan Guaido is the best step forward to a new and prosperous Venezuela. Hanna believes that every country that hasn’t recognized Juan Guaido should recognize him.

“It would the most humane thing to do,” she said.

Venezuela is the sad story of a nation that was thriving gone bad. What was once ranked as the happiest nation on the planet has taken a massive toll at the expense of violence and political controversy. As protests and riots spark daily, days without power and food rise.

However, in recent days it seems to have given more than enough to the people who want to see their nation thrive and live on. Violence and protests have always been seen in a bad light, but Venezuela aims to change the dynamics of that for the greater good of themselves.

With people reaching their peak of unrest, a dictator uneasy at the idea of his power, and multiple nations turning their eyes to the South American spectacle, it’s unknown how this will unfold, but no matter the result of it, it will never break the spirit of the Venezuelan people who simply want to live in peace.

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