Youth Day Protests

The ringing started around 8:00 last night.

Spoons clattering against pots resounded up on one side of the street and slowly picked up on the other. It is a common form of protest in some parts of the world, this banging of pots.

Its start was a hint at the size of the march to come.

Today is Youth Day in Venezuela. For this reason, the opposition organized massive protests to bring attention to the record-setting inflation, violence, and quality of life here in Venezuela. From what I can gather, choosing to hold a march on such a day is rife with symbolism.

Before any major protest I receive an e-mail from the State Department strongly advising me to stay away.

I always do because

1.) I am not fluent in the language and do not want to put myself into any situation that may turn into an emergency since my language skills shut down when I’m nervous/scared/anxious and

2.) I honestly feel I can’t make an educated decision about some of the political issues here. Not yet. I still need to observe and learn more about the way the system works. Thus, I’m not for participating in any pro- or anti- government marches just to say I did it. That rings hollow and senseless to me.

I feel guilty because, as I’ve posted before, I am happy here. That being said, I fully acknowledge a large part of my happiness stems from the fact that I am living the life more of an expat than an immigrant.

I prayed this morning for all people involved. The country, in my opinion, is in crisis. It’s axiomatic to state that it is not good to have one of the world’s highest crime rates and inflation rates. Thus, I believe it is a person’s right to peacefully protest. Earlier today, I was happy to see photos of people peacefully marching in various parts of the country. Unfortunately, two people were killed at the protests today when events turned violent.

One co-worker told me that the government threatened media outlets with steep fines if they covered the protests because the media outlets would be promoting violence. If true, the lack of free speech here is something that disconcerts me. I don’t even own a TV so I wouldn’t know what’s being covered and what’s not. I do look outside of Venezuela for news about Venezuela though (which is often a tell-tale sign of how much a news agency is really allowed to report).

I don’t know what’s in store for the country. I just hope and pray that better days will come.

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2 thoughts on “Youth Day Protests

  1. Chavez was one of the few leaders to stand up to the Washington Consensus which sought to normalize neoliberal policies that ultimately benefitted the U.S. at the expense of smaller, poorer Latin American countries. His successor, Maduro, also is not on “friendly” terms with the U.S. state dept. and there are many forces at work to destabilize his government. Stay safe…these are important times for the Venezuelan people.

  2. Long before I ever thought I would see Venezuela with my own eyes I did (and do) respect how Chavez stood up to US foreign policy because our foreign policy history in Latin America is not pretty. That being said, I do feel that the government talks too much about outside forces destabilizing the government and not enough about how its own actions are destabilizing the country too. No one’s hands are clean, but I find that the official line here borders propaganda and too reductive of arguments for super complex problems.

    As always, thanks for stopping by! You couldn’t be more right. These are indeed important times for the Venezuelan people.

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