From a Venezuelan too the world: Just when you think it can't get any worse, it can.
From a Venezuelan that has lived abroad there are many things other nationals don’t know about what is happening and has been happening before this crisis broke loose:
1. We are traditionally people who never migrate to other countries: Yes, people move out and establish themselves somewhere else, it is globalization, bla bla bla… but Venezuelans did not need to move abroad, it was never the case for us. Until year 1989, people used to come to Venezuela; Colombians, Chileans, Panamanians, Peruvians, Bolivians and many others came to escape from guerrillas or dictatorships; Spaniards, Portugueses, Italians, Germans, Croatians escaped the famine and lack of employment from and after the wars, Chinese also escaped and came to Venezuela, what about Lebanese and Turks? they came in as well! And what did we do with them? we allowed them to stay and work without any other condition that they must help themselves.
2. We notice the differences but accept everybody: Sure Venezuelans are known to be ignorant regarding others’ costumes and traditions, we, for example, do not know the difference between Chinese and Japanese, or we call anyone from the Middle East as Turks, or we make fun of the accent that the Portuguese have when they speak spanish, I apologize for that! but we accept anyone coming to our country, we treat them the same as the rest. You may feel offended if you are only called by your ethnicity, but for us it is your identifier and it does not mean that you will be discriminated against or will be asked to leave. You are always welcome.
3. We are very pacific people: Despite what the media may show about us, we are extremely pacific, you can even call us cowards. Violence has rarely taken place in the last 100 years; 2 strong dictatorships came and went and we either surrendered in fear or pacifically demonstrated until they were gone. What is happening right now is the product of 18 years of name-calling, empowerment of thugs, expropriation of private companies and properties, intimidation and systematic decline in quality of life for all Venezuelans, done by Hugo Chavez, Nicolas Maduro and their band of criminals they insist calling themselves the commanders of the “revolution”. As early as 2006, milk, sugar, food oil and meat were starting to scarce, in 2013 there was shortage in toilet paper (you must have heard about it) and now products at regulated prices rarely come to the supermarkets. Were the protests and demonstrations violent? Not at all, and now people are becoming hungrier, with less and less to lose. So, violence is not normal in our society as it is not normal in yours.
4. The new constitution guarantees another dictatorship a la Cuba: the fact that Fidel Castro stayed in power until the last decade of his life and he ceded the power to his brother must serve as an example to what would happen to Venezuela if that “Constituyente” ever come to pass. Nicolás Maduro says that it guarantees peace in the country but it does not. First, it is not even 20 years since the last constitution was written and ratified by a referendum. Second, we have a record of changing the constitutions 5 times in 30 years by a dictator (Juan Vicente Gomez). Third, Maduro never called for a referendum to ask the people whether they want or not that new constitution. Forth, Maduro is setting the conditions, not the people, meaning that one half of the people in that new “assembly” will be set by him and the rest will be in elections. Fifth, it would mean dissolving our parliament and many other institutions and setting a new model where Maduro and his people will direct everything in the country.
5. People are STARVING: with the highest inflation in the world and importation of goods and products, Venezuelans are struggling to eat. One kilogram of chicken costs around 19% of the lowest salary for example. It has been reported that as many as 60% of Venezuelans are struggling to eat two meals a day. Some even search for food in other people’s household trash. This level of misery has never been reached until now, for a country with the largest oil reserves in the world.
6. The corruption is extremely high: Hugo Chavez came to power in 1999 ditching the “elite” and promising to end corruption. He died leaving his family with billions of dollars, the same with many of the people working in the government. While people are struggling now to find food and jobs, Maduro and its “enchufados” (people that works in the government) enjoy all the money that came into the country after years of selling the oil in more than 100 dollars per barrel. Not only that, some of them have invested this money in narcotraffic and traffic of influences.
The most important thing we want you to know is that WE NEED YOU. We need your attention and your support. Either for selfless reasons or selfish reasons. You may want our well being or maybe just invest in our country. You may want to visit us or retire after years of work. It does not matter, we need to raise awareness to what is happening in Venezuela, of the humanitarian crisis, of the corruption, of the dictatorship! We need your help as your country may have needed ours and we offered it.