Turmoil and unrest have taken over Venezuela. Caracas, Mérida, Lara, and Maracaibo bear witness to the upheaval produced by constant protests against Nicolás Maduro’s socialist regime.
As the end of February draws near, 18 people have lost their lives and 149 have been injured. The list of victims and casualties keeps on rising – not to mention the loss to both public and private property.
The younger generation, students, and educated individuals lead the protests that take place day after day all over the nation. And how could they not? Supermarkets have been emptied, no basic food or home supplies can be found, while inflation and devaluation have catapulted the prices upward. Scarcity, hunger, injustice, violence, and corruption now reign in one the richest country in Latin America. Such an outlook would appear highly unlikely for a nation with some of the largest oil deposits in the world. But Chavismo has made it possible.
No country, rich or poor, can escape the consequences of a disastrous administration. While the ongoing situation was certainly incubated during Hugo Chavez’s government, it was current President Nicolás Maduro’s inability to cope with the day-to-day demands of an intrinsically dynamic society that drove the country over the edge. Whereas Chavez was somehow capable of balancing domestic and international politics, Maduro has had serious trouble with the current protests while leading Venezuela down a dangerous path of global isolation.
In his attempt to deflect attention away from the unrest for both national and international audiences, the Maduro administration has taken away one of the last and most basic of freedoms that the Venezuelan people still had — freedom of information. The government continues to periodically blackout the internet to stymie protesters’ communications both with each other and the outside world. This is especially frightening since Millennials like myself grew up in the internet era, where information is just a click away. As a result, Venezuelans are having great difficulty putting the Maduro government’s tyranny on full display to the world.
Fortunately, Maduro’s days as president of Venezuela may be limited. Citizens are no longer accepting the constant violations of their most basic human rights. Hugo Chavez’s “Bolivarian revolution” may soon lose its grip on the nation. Maduro has declared several times that, “a slow coup is underway.” He may just be right.
Venezuela is now part of the long list of failed totalitarian governments and dictatorships that seem to be endemic in Latin America. Hopefully current situation will serve as a warning to future generations of Latin-American leaders about the devastating effects of boundless ambition, corruption, and the illusion of control.
Hence, I call on my fellow young Latin Americans, especially to those in Venezuela, to understand that now is the time to take control of the world’s future with action. The future is our responsibility, and the lessons from Venezuela must not be forgotten. Fellow young Venezuelans, you might not have started this, but you may have the opportunity to put an end to it, peacefully.
Isabella Loaiza Saa is a Young Voices Advocate based out of Bogota, Colombia. She is the founder of Centro Libertad y Emprendimiento and a member of the Colombian Association of the Entrepreneurs of the Future (ANDI del Futuro).