Saturday, March 15, 2014

At this moment, the little nation in which I was born is in desperate need for help. Its ruler (as I can’t call that a government) has decided its needs are more important than its people and has selected a few above the rule of law.

Venezuela is bleeding to death and the international community does nothing about it.

Basic human rights are violated every day, people can’t find anything to eat and the government is (on an attempt to remain in power) cutting liberties, and charging favours with nations around it. It has become a totalitarian dictatorship.

What is exactly going on in Venezuela?

The short version of the events is: A protest against food shortage, insecurity and extremely bad administration of the current government has escalated into civil disobedience and huge conflicts between the Venezuelan government and its own people as the government has decided to silence at any cost anybody who chooses to criticise the government.  At the moment the Venezuelan government has murdered 21 people, 33 people has reported torture and close to 261 has been wounded. These numbers are going up everyday.

These are images the government doesn't want to go public.
Weaponless students fighting the national police armed with water cannons, pepper spray, teargas, guns and rifles.
Image via Frank Gomez

A more detailed version of the events is:

After Chavez's death in November 2011 (formally announced in March), the government had to invoke new national elections which were conducted in April 2013. The result was an extremely narrow margine in favour to the second in command, Nicolas Maduro. These elections were obscured as the government actively avoided any international verification of the results or any statistical analysis, introducing a reasonable doubt onto who was actually the real winner. At this point most people wanted a change already as Chavez's policies had driven the economical prosperity away as well as it introduced an enormous amount of corruption at every single level of society, being corruption of the justice, the one granting freedom to those thugs, murderers and sociopaths supporting the government. Insecurity became the most pressing issue for anyone living in Venezuela.

In January this year (2014) a Miss Venezuela went back to visit her family after a long time of living overseas, and while she was visiting the country she was robbed and killed by several gunshots on a freeway between two cities of Venezuela. This event exploited rage into every single student and member of the society, forcing themselves onto the streets requesting from Maduro a radical change in which the rule of law needed to be preserved or a change in the government itself as it had been proving itself inefficient.

The death of this beauty queen forced many to recognise
the difficult situation lived in the country.

Maduro labeled this movement a conspiracy against him and a cue to take the government out and responded to these claims with brutal force (deploying the army, the national guard, the police and the government armed factions called ‘collectivos’, a different label for the government guerrillas) killing students in the process and issuing order for detention and later on incarceration of the opposition political leader Leopoldo Lopez, while restricting internet access and creating media blackout to prevent anybody from knowing about their actions.

Leopoldo Lopez being taken by the national police as he requests freedom for the nation
armed with white flowers in one hand and the national flag in the other.

All these efforts to repress the people had the complete opposite effect. Raged on, people (fearless of any consequence) went in the streets to fight back the now full on totalitarian ruler, who has decided to release these armed guerrillas (in addition to the national police and groups of the army lead by Cuban soldiers) in the streets to kill, rape or kidnap anybody marching against the government.

Students fighting back while the government shuts the protests down.
Image via Frank Gomez

All of this is happening while the world is watching Ukraine and international observers have had their hands dirty with Venezuelan money. Countries such as United States, Canada and Panama have condemned all actions taken against the Venezuelan people and several parliaments and senates of Latin America have raised issues against their own governments to get some action going to protect the Venezuelan people.

Why should I care?

You see, the world is quite little and there is this fabulous theory called “the butterfly effect”. Any action you do as little as it may be, will create a chain of events to produce something completely unexpected on the other end.

If you are not Venezuelan there are plenty of reasons why you must care. The Venezuelan ruler is driving the entire country to bankruptcy and every single industry in the nation is failing massively.

Venezuela is the first oil reserve in the world, it is one of the richest countries with the highest index of poverty and inflation. Every single barrel of oil Venezuela doesn’t produce increases the cost of living in regions such as: North America, Australia and Europe. These are as you very well know some of the biggest economies in the world. Every single day Venezuela continues in mayhem it affects you by increasing your cost of living.

So, what can YOU do?

Spread the word, the more people participate the more pressure we can generate. Venezuelan’s are using the #SOSVenezuela or #PrayForVenezuela twitter hash tags to request for help, but the government is little by little closing all the channels in which any voice may get out to tell the truth about what is going on.

Isaac Asimov once said: "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent"

Contact your local media and demand from them coverage of what is going on in Venezuela. The more voices the least our governments can ignore the situation and proper international observers (as well as media coverage) will expose the dictator and introduce pressure for a change that will not involve violence in my home town.

Spreading the word is quite easy, tweet, post on facebook or just talk to your friends.

Contact your political representative, raise your concern about this issue with them. There are many governments in Latin America being complicit about the current situation as they are receiving huge amount of money to maintain their silence. Your representatives aren’t under the same interest, they will create some force in the government to recognise the difficult situation that my home town is living.

Finally, brothers and sisters of Ukraine. Even though my home town is submerge deep in the oppression and tyranny of a totalitarian government we are glad your struggle is getting somewhere. Let’s fight for a free world.

We are united in our fight for freedom and respect of human rights.

Some of the voices joined our pledge: