Showing posts with label Venezuela. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Venezuela. Show all posts

October 25, 2018

Angelina Jolie Visits Venezuela


LIMA, Peru (AP) — Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie said Tuesday the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans from their country has led to a "shocking" migrant crisis in South America that was "predictable and preventable."
Jolie was ending a three-day visit to Peru as a special envoy for the United Nations refugee agency. During her visit, Jolie met Venezuelan refugees who live at a shelter in the capital city and also went to a border crossing in the north of the country.
On Tuesday, Jolie met with Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra to discuss potential solutions to the migrant crisis and ways of securing international support. After the meeting she thanked Peru for taking measures that are helping Venezuelans in that country to get legal status, and urged governments around the world to support procedures that help refugees to apply for asylum.
"None of the Venezuelans I met want charity," Jolie said. "They want an opportunity to help themselves."
More than 1.9 million people have left Venezuela since 2015 according to the United Nations and some 400,000 have moved to Peru. The UNHCR has described it as the largest population movement in Latin America's recent history.
Venezuela's government has denied there is a migrant crisis and said its enemies are playing up the situation in order to justify an invasion of Venezuela.
On Monday, Venezuelan Socialist Party boss Diosdado Cabello mocked Jolie's visit to Peru, writing on Twitter that it was merely a show that "right-wing media" are using to distract from a caravan of thousands of Central American migrants heading to the United States.

April 9, 2018

Venezuela's Olympic Diver [Robert Paez]Comes Out "Life is too Beautiful to hide in the Closet"

This article originally published on Outsports. I originally passed because most of the gay media came out with the story over the weekend but we liked the way Outsports wrote it by having Roberto writing it himself, so I decided in case one of our readers was missed somewhere and because it is so important when guys come out here are Roberto's words:

I’ve been in sports since I was 7 years old. Growing up in Venezuela, I knew from a very young age that I was different, despite not knowing what exactly that meant. 
It’s a difficult road, to know at a young age that we feel something that makes us believe we are not “right” in the eyes of society. Yet the truth is that if I was born that way, it was because God created me and he wanted it that way. When I finally came to believe that, that’s when I understood that I should accept with pride and courage what others called “mariconeria.”
I understood that this was and would be my truth forever, and my own self-acceptance was only in my hands. It was up to me whether I lived in happiness, or sank and lived in a lie that never would be. 

I believe that I was born gay. As I got older I became more aware of it, and as I grew – like with so many others – it became my great dilemma. It was a source of worry that I was interested in things like dancing and fashion, things that in my culture were for women and gays. I shied away from doing many things. I was at times ashamed to go out into society, to face who I really was. 
At age 15, while other kids were playing soccer and eating ice cream with girls, my mind was struggling with endless thoughts and questions. Little by little I realized that only I had my answers. Yet even as I found those answers, I worried about how my family would feel. What would my brothers say? How would my friends react? Or people out there watching me from the stands?
When I was 18 years old, I found the courage to open up to my mother. One day, after having competed for Venezuela in my first Olympics, I told her that I was in love. 
”With a boy or a girl?” She asked.  
Mothers know. My mom knew. She knew how to accept me as I was. And although she cried, and it hurt a little bit, in the end she took it very well. 

 When my older sis found out, she was great with it too!“Let me know if you need high heels so you can borrow mine"

My three brothers all opened up their arms and their hearts to me. It didn’t matter to them if I was gay – They loved me no matter what.
I was afraid to come out to my father because he was a military man, and I thought he was going to reject me. He’s known about me for about a year now, and he accepted me for who I am. 
Many times we as gay men, fearing who we really are, find a girlfriend to make our family believe that we are what they call a “real man.” I wish I could show other gay men that we are not deceiving anyone, but we are cheating ourselves of being faithful to who we are as people. 

In sharing my story, I hope to help make homosexuality as common of a word as heterosexuality. We have to read it, say it, and accept it with clarity and maturity. He has to understand that we are all equal. Being gay does not make us less as a man, or girls less as a woman. Being gay is not a disease. 
Accepting ourselves and respecting ourselves are big first steps. Life is too beautiful to be hidden in a closet. 
I always say to myself before I fall into a pool of water waiting meters below me, if something goes wrong I’ll get back on the diving board and try it again. 
But I’ll never surrender. 
Robert Páez competed in diving for Venezuela in the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics. He is on Twitter @RobertPaez9 and on Instagram @RobertPaez. He is also on Facebook.
Story edited by Cyd Zeigler and Javier Ruisanchez
It is adamfoxie's 10th🦊Anniversay. 10 years witnessing the world and bringing you a pieace whcih is ussually not getting its due coverage. 4.9 Million Reads

August 15, 2017

Venezuelans to Columbians, 'Brother Can You Spare a Little Food?'

 A woman carrying a bundle on her head waits in line to cross the border into Colombia through the Simon Bolivar International Bridge in San Antonio del Tachira, Venezuela, July 17, 2016. 

Under a scorching sun just a short walk from Colombia's border with Venezuela, hundreds of hungry men, women and children line up for bowls of chicken and rice — the first full meal some have eaten in days.

An estimated 25,000 Venezuelans make the trek across the Simon Bolivar International Bridge into Colombia each day. Many come for a few hours to work or trade goods on the black market, looking for household supplies they cannot find back home.

But increasingly, they are coming to eat in one of a half-dozen facilities offering struggling Venezuelans a free plate of food.

"I never thought I'd say this," said Erick Oropeza, 29, a former worker with Venezuela's Ministry of Education who recently began crossing the bridge at 4 a.m. each day. "But I'm more grateful for what Colombia has offered me in this short time than what I ever received from Venezuela my entire life."

As Venezuela's economy verges on collapse and its political upheaval worsens, cities like Cucuta along Colombia's porous, 1,370-mile (2,200-kilometer) border with Venezuela have become firsthand witnesses to the neighboring South American nation's escalating humanitarian crisis.

According to one recent survey, about 75 percent of Venezuelans lost an average of 19 pounds (8.7 kilograms) last year.

The Colombian government has crafted contingency plans in the event of a sudden, mass exodus, but already church groups and nonprofit organizations are stepping in, moved by images of mothers carrying starving babies and skinny men trying to make a few bucks on Cucuta's streets to bring back home.

Paulina Toledo, 47, a Colombian hairstylist who recently helped feed lunch to 900 Venezuelans, said seeing how hungry they were "hurt my soul."

"Those of us here on the border are seeing their pain," she said.

People living on either side of the Colombia-Venezuela border have long had a foot in both countries: A Colombian who lives in Cucuta might cross to visit relatives in San Cristobal; a Venezuelan might make the reverse trip to work or go to school.

In the years when Venezuela's oil industry was booming and Colombia entangled in a half-century armed conflict, an estimated 4 million Colombians migrated to Venezuela. Many started coming back as Venezuela's economy began to implode and after Maduro closed the border in 2015 and expelled 20,000 Colombians overnight.

Oropeza said he earned about $70 a month working at the Ministry of Education and selling hamburgers on the side — twice Venezuela's minimum wage but still not enough to feed a family of four. Once a month his family receives a bundle of food provided by the government, but it only lasts a week.

"So the other three weeks, like most Venezuelans, we have to make magic happen," he said on a recent afternoon.

Desperate for money to feed his family, he left his job and traveled to the Venezuelan border town of San Antonio. He wakes up at 4 a.m. each morning to be among the first crossing the bridge into Cucuta, where he earns money selling soft drinks on the street.

He goes straight to the "Casa de Paso," a church-run shelter that has served 60,000 meals to Venezuelans since opening two months ago. On an average day, 2,000 Venezuelans line up for meals, getting a ticket to reserve their spot and then waiting four hours for a meal served at outdoor plastic tables.

Workers stir gigantic metal pots filled with chicken and rice set on the bare dirt floor. Volunteers hand out boxes of juice to tired-looking children. Adults sit quietly, savoring their bowl of food as chickens waddle between them.

"Every day I have to remind myself why I am here," said Oropeza, dressed in a faded striped collared shirt. "I try to repeat it to myself so that I won't, you know, so those moments of weakness don't affect you so much."

When he's not helping out or waiting in line at the shelter kitchen, Oropeza sells malted soft drinks for about 50 cents each. He's been able to bring money back to his family and has earned enough to buy a cellphone, which he'd lacked for two years.

Jose David Canas, a priest, said his church will continue to serve food "as long as God allows."

"Until they close the border," he said. "Until everything is eaten or until the province tells us that they no longer have lunches to give out. And then it's the end."

Voice of America

Spanish Police Breaks Up Forced Transgender Prostitution Ring from Spain-Venezuela

Transsexuals from Venezuela forced into prostitution in Spain
This file image shows a prostitute standing at a bar near the French border. Photo: AFP
Spanish police said Monday that they had broken up a network that was forcing transsexuals into prostitution, after luring most of them to Spain from Venezuela.
"Police have arrested 14 people and freed 24 victims holed up in apartments in inhumane conditions," the police said in statement.
The victims "had to remain available 24/7 for clients to whom they also had
to offer all sorts of drugs."
The network mainly found its victims during the "Miss Trans" contest held in Venezuela, police said.
The victims were not aware they were going to Spain to become prostitutes, and were tricked with other enticements.
The network "paid for breast implants and the cost of the trip", police said.
But once they arrived their papers were taken away and they were forced into prostitution to reimburse a debt of €15,000 ($17,700).

Reuters reports:

MADRID (Reuters) – Spanish police have dismantled a prostitution network that exploited transsexuals recruited in fake “Miss Trans” competitions in Venezuela that promised winners the opportunity of a new life in Spain. Police said on Monday they had freed over 20 victims forced to live in “inhumane conditions” in overcrowded apartments in Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca where they had to pay off debts through prostitution and drug dealing. The network lured transsexuals to Spain by offering to pay for their travel and accommodation, along with new breast implants, police said in a statement. The network’s leader promised them “great prosperity.” When the individuals arrived in Spain, the network confiscated travel documents and imposed a debt per person of 15,000 euros (13,617 pounds) for their return. They had to be available 24 hours a day to clients, police said. The operation led to the arrest of 14 people suspected of managing the network, which earned up to 1 million euros ($1.18 million) over five years, police said.

(Reporting by Emily Lupton; Editing by Angus Berwick and Alister Doyle)

August 4, 2017

Election Figures in Venezuela were Manipulated

Chinese Foreign Ministry says the elections were "generally held smoothly", though it also noted "the reaction from all relevant sides."This blog emphatically  believes China should be bringing in the food these people need!

Turnout figures for an election to a controversial new legislative body in Venezuela were manipulated, the company that provided the voting technology has claimed. 
Antonio Mugica, chief executive of Smartmatic, said there was a discrepancy of at least a million votes between the officially declared tally in Sunday's election to the Constituent Assembly and the one his company recorded. A full audit would be needed to confirm the exact numbers, he said.
Venezuela's National Electoral Council has reported that more than 8 million people, about 41.53% of registered voters, cast ballots.
    The head of the council said Mugica's assertions are irresponsible.
    Smartmatic is a technology support company and wouldn't have access to the final vote numbers, Tibisay Lucena told reporters Wednesday afternoon. 
    "Any manipulation, like Mr. Mugica suggests, does not take into consideration that Smartmatic is part of the safety of the totalization system," Lucena said. "Mr. Mugica intends to question the results of an election in which (Smartmatic's) only role was to provide services for this institution."
    Venezuela's opposition boycotted the election, calling it fraudulent. It says the new Constituent Assembly -- which has the power to dissolve the opposition-controlled National Assembly and to rewrite Venezuela's constitution -- will erode democracy.
    Deadly election day in Venezuela as protesters clash with troops
    Deadly election day in Venezuela as protesters clash with troops
    President Nicolás Maduro declared a sweeping victory after the vote. Virtually all the new body's members are supporters of the leftist leader.
    But speaking at a news conference in London, Mugica cast doubt on the turnout figures quoted by Venezuelan authorities.
    "We estimate the difference between the actual participation and the one announced by authorities is at least one million votes," he said. "It is important to point out that this would not have occurred if the auditors of all political parties had been present at the different stages of the election."
    Mugica said his company had stood by all previous results, regardless of who won. "Based on the robustness of our system, we know, without any doubt, that the turnout of the recent election for a National Constituent Assembly was manipulated," he said.
    In the wake of the result, two opposition leaders -- Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma -- were detained, sparking condemnation from the United States and international organizations.
    Venezuela has used the London-based Smartmatic voting systems in elections since 2004, according to Smartmatic. 
    Voters receive instructions by a Venezuelan Bolivarian National Guard officer outside a polling station during the election for a constitutional assembly in Caracas, Venezuela, Sunday, July 30, 2017.
    Maduro was scheduled to hold a swearing-in ceremony for the Constituent Assembly on Wednesday at the Poliedro de Caracas arena, according to Venezuela's Ministry of Communications. 
    Ahead of the vote, he argued that the Constituent Assembly would help bring peace to a polarized country, with all branches of the government falling under the political movement founded by his late mentor and predecessor, Hugo Chavez.
    Why Venezuela is in crisis
    Why Venezuela is in crisis
    But critics have called the vote a sham. Some nations have slapped new sanctions on Venezuela or some of its citizens.
    Key opposition figure and Miranda state Gov. Henrique Capriles said voter participation Sunday was less than 15%. 
    He claimed voter turnout was three times higher two weeks ago for an opposition-led, nonbinding referendum against Maduro's proposed Constituent Assembly.
    On July 16, more than 7 million Venezuelans cast ballots in an unofficial vote against Maduro's Constituent Assembly. Maduro ignored the results of the vote. 
    Sunday's vote came after months of sometimes deadly anti-regime protests and an economic crisis that has led many to leave in search of easier access to food and medicine.
    Opposition groups said they would march Thursday at noon to where the National Assembly meets in the the center of Caracas. Supporters of the government are also scheduled to march around the same time. 

    July 16, 2017

    The Police Helicopter Pilot in Venezuela

    Oscar Perez speaks at an anti-government protest in Caracas on Thursday. Perez, a fugitive pilot who allegedly attacked the country's Supreme Court building with hand grenades thrown from a helicopter, appeared unexpectedly at an opposition rally before fleeing on a motorcycle.
    Inaki Zugasti/AFP/Getty Images
    With just days to go before a symbolic referendum called by Venezuelan opposition, protesters on Thursday embraced another spectacle thick with symbolism: Oscar Perez, the fugitive pilot who dropped grenades from a helicopter on the Venezuelan Supreme Court last month, reappeared at an opposition rally and delivered a statement to demonstrators.
    "Today is the moment that you are paying tribute to the fallen ones," Perez told the crowd, which had assembled in Caracas to commemorate those who had died during the unrest that has racked Venezuela for months. "The tribute to the fallen ones is not just to be here in this moment. The real tribute is for this dictatorship to fall."
    Then Perez, who was flanked by people in masks, said a few words to the media and left the rally on a motorcycle.
    It was the first in-person public appearance for the 36-year-old police officer and film actor, who has been the subject of a manhunt since stealing a helicopter and firing on two public buildings. No one was injured in the attack, which the Venezuelan government called a "terrorist act." 
    It was also a surreal mile marker in what has become a long and desperate struggle between President Nicolas Maduro and opposition activists, which has seethed on city streets for more than 100 days.
    Since April 1, when the country's Supreme Court reversed its attempt to dissolve the opposition-heavy National Assembly, tens of thousands of protesters have loudly called for new elections and even Maduro's removal from power. Amid the unrest, the Attorney General's office estimates that at least 92 people have died and more than 1,500 have been injured.
    Maduro, who asserts the protests against his regime are driven by foreign powers, has offered his own version of a solution to the discord: He has called for the July 30 election of delegates to a Constituent Assembly to rewrite the country's 18-year-old constitution.

    Opposition activists take part in a demonstration marking 100 days of protests against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas on Sunday.
    Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images
    But, as John Otis noted on Morning Edition earlier this week, Venezuelan law dictates that the government hold a referendum first on whether to conduct that rewrite — a vote that Maduro has refused to schedule.
    Opposition leaders have decided to hold a vote anyway this Sunday.
    John explains:
    "The opposition is boycotting the election and promoting an alternative round of balloting. On Sunday, a symbolic nationwide plebiscite will be held in which Venezuelans will be asked whether or not they want a new constitution. The opposition is hoping to embarrass Maduro with a massive turnout and millions of Venezuelans voting no."
    Liz Throssell, a spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, called on Maduro's government to "respect the wishes of those who want to participate in this consultation and to guarantee people's rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly."
    "We appeal to all sides in Venezuela to renounce violence and the harassment of opponents," she said in comments to the media Friday. "We express our hope that Sunday's consultation will proceed peacefully and in the full respect of the human rights of all."
    In his brief speech Thursday, Perez called for a nationwide strike next week — and he vowed to be "in the streets defending the public" during Sunday's referendum.
    Voters "will use this means to tell the world what we already know," Perez said. "We do not want this narcogovernment, this corruption. And we will win and
     NPR (by  )

    August 11, 2014

    Venezuela Closes Border with Columbia Due to Smuggling

                                                 (Smuggling out of Venezuela of Petrol and food)                                                

    Venezuela says it will close its border with Colombia at night from Monday, to try to stop large-scale smuggling of petrol and food.
    The government says that tonnes of goods - produced in Venezuela and heavily subsidised - are sold in Colombia at much higher prices.
    The shortage of many staples in Venezuela's western border area this year led to anti-government protests.
    The border closure was agreed with the Colombian government.
    President Nicolas Maduro discussed the measures with his Colombian counterpart, Juan Manuel Santos, at a summit on 1 August.
    The 2,200km-long (1,360 miles) border will be closed between 22:00 local time and 05:00 every night.
    Cargo vehicles, including vans and lorries, will be banned from crossing from Venezuela to Colombia between 18:00 and 05:00.
    'Failed policies'
    The cross-border smuggling is also a problem for Colombia, with a big loss in taxes and complaints of unfair competition by local businessmen.
    The profits are often used to finance drug gangs and left-wing guerrillas, says the BBC's Arturo Wallace in Bogota.
    More than 40 million litres of petrol and 21,000 tonnes of food have been seized so far this year.
    Nicolas Maduro (left) and Juan Manuel Santos (right), Cartagena 1 Aug 2014Mr Maduro (left) and Mr Santos (right) agreed on the measures at a summit in Colombia
    A man reacts after he found all shelves empty at a bakery in Caracas on 14 January, 2014Shortages of basic staples such as bread have angered shoppers across Venezuela
    Riot police stand by during a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in San Cristobal on 28 March, 2014In the border city of San Cristobal, protesters and police clashed on a daily basis earlier this year
    "They were ready to be smuggled across the border," said the head of the Venezuelan Armed Forces Strategic Operational Command, Vladimir Padrino Lopez.
    "That amount of food is enough to feed 700,000 people for a month," he added.
    Mr Maduro's left-wing government subsidises petrol and many food staples, such as milk, rice and pasta, which are sold at controlled prices.
    But it says that up to 40% of the goods produced in Venezuela end up on the other side of the border.
    Dissatisfaction with the shortage of many staples, as well as rampant crime and high inflation, led thousands of people in the western Venezuelan states of Tachira and Merida to take to the streets in January.
    The protests quickly spread to the rest of Venezuela, which faced similar problems.
    The opposition blames failed left-wing policies of the past 15 years - initiated with the late president, Hugo Chavez - for the country’s economic crisis.

    July 31, 2014

    Like Gentrification in NYC Venezuela is displacing the people that least can afford it

    Venezuela, is, evicting, poor, families, to, make, way, for, the, people, who, need, it, least, Venezuela Is Evicting Poor Families to Make Way for the People Who Need It Least Image Credit: Getty
    The news: The roughly 5,000 residents of a massive, unfinished skyscraper in Caracas, Venezuela, called the "world's tallest slum" or the "Tower of David" are being rapidly evicted.

    The reason? Big business. Specifically, Chinese bankers have reportedly expressed an interest in redeveloping the Centro Financiero Confinanzas for its original intended use as an office space.

    Image credit: Getty

    Now, advocates report that 100 families have already been forcibly evicted from the 45-story building as of July 23, and the remainder of its population of 1,200 families is soon to follow. This comes just two months after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government promised to improve living conditions there.

    The backstory: In the mid-'90s, the tower's construction was abandoned amid the death of primary investor David Brillembourg and a subsequent financial crisis. As a result, squatters took over the entire building, installing electrical and water systems, developing their own managerial system, and occupying the bottom 28 floors with shops, apartments and even daycare centers.

    Image Credit: Saúl Briceño

    However, the community is not without its critics. While some call it a model commune with clean common spaces and nice apartments, others point to the fact that the building's de facto leader is Alexander "El Niño" Daza, a brutal former gang boss rumored to have thrown his enemies off the upper floors.

    The tower is also regarded as a well-guarded and relatively well-off base of left-wing "Chavismo," the political ideology of late President Hugo Chávez. It has stood as both a symbol of failed capitalism and the shortcomings of its alternatives for close to two decades.

    What Venezuelans are saying: The international Urban Think Tank worries that Maduro's government is neglecting a valuable opportunity to use the community as the basis for "innovative and inclusive development" by scattering the tower's residents. Critics say the government abandoned its initial promise to help refurnish the site to improve the lives of poor people once visions of foreign cash began dancing in their heads.

    Image Credit: AP

    For their part, the Venezuelan government insists the evacuations are about safety rather than money. Caracas redevelopment overseer Ernesto Villegas says the rumor that Chinese investors want to finish the building "doesn't make any sense," since the structure is unsafe, in terrible condition and possibly irreparable. He told reporters, “The tower does not meet the minimum conditions for safe, dignifi

    Still, the ultimate plans for the building clearly will not involve the current residents, Chinese investment or not. Maduro said recently that three options were on the table: destruction, the establishment of a new residential community or commercial redevelopment.

    It seems like big business will likely win that competition.

    By Tom McKay 

    April 17, 2014

    Venezuela: Nothing After You Reach Bottom

    (Image: Sergio Alvarez/Demotix)
    (Image: Sergio Alvarez/Demotix)
    Like other countries, Venezuela’s young are eager to explore the world. Every opportunity to learn becomes important in the formation of the young mind. In Venezuela, a crippled education system prevents normal development. While the well-born go to private schools and have access to every benefit, the mass of Venezuela’s students confront an educational system that tells them: “You can’t but you tried.”
    The most embarrassing and painful thing about the deplorable state of the country’s schools is the level of the government’s indifference. Though the government of Nicolás Maduro offers programmes like “Simoncito”, “Mision Ribas” and “Mision Robinson” these is basic education that doesn’t adequately prepare students to pursue higher studies. The programmes seem to condemn the disadvantaged among Venezuela’s population to a remedial existence. If some of these children make it to higher education, the odds are stacked against them and their families.
    In the end, it all comes down to money. Venezuela needs to spend more to let students be students. But with foreign reserves short, all but national priorities are left off the funding list. Every area of science instruction needs improvement. Budgets are not even close to covering the costs of labs, let alone providing learning aids or even actual textbooks. A prize-winning robotics team at Caracas’ Universidad Simon Bolivar works with outdated electronics that are often patched together. When the team wanted to take part in an international competition, they were denied assistance — meaning just a few of the team could do it because that was all they could afford to pay out of their own pockets. Another group, which took part in the Latin American conference of the model UN, found themselves staying in primitive conditions in Mexico because they were denied dollars, the currency they needed to pay bills. Despite the discomfort, the group won six awards.
    Even with the obvious deficiencies in education, Venezuela has a large population of well-prepared professionals across a wide spectrum of expertise. But based on political affiliations, these people cannot work for the development of the nation. No wonder Venezuelans have begun to leave the country in search of a better future for themselves and their families. This exodus is manifesting itself worst of all among teachers. The ramshackle education system can ill afford this brain drain. But, again, it’s understandable when even those with advanced degrees from internationally respected institutions earn less than approximately £40 per month. When the government’s own basic food basket is priced at nearly £200 per month, it’s impossible to support a family without second or third jobs. Under strict rules, teachers are not allowed to apply for the loans that could support home or car ownership. In effect, teachers are sentenced to live with relatives for life. Yet they continue to teach out of love for the craft with the hope they they can raise a new generation of Venezuelans who can think for themselves and question dogma. Without them, the youth of Venezuela would be lost.
    In recent interviews, the educational minister Hector Rodriguez said: “We are not going to take you out of poverty for you to go and become opposites.” His statement meant that Venezuela’s students should understand that their wings are already clipped and any dream of progress or improvement is invalid.
    The government’s approach to education aims to make Venezuelans think it has the absolute truth and will decide what’s right for students. The lower classes won’t have any choice but to believe what they are told.
    After 15 years Venezuelans have become accustomed to waiting for the government to wave a magic wand to provide what they need. The sense of personal responsibility now seems lost. Effort doesn’t deliver results, so Venezuelans don’t try. It’s an indirect way for the government to choose a person’s destiny.
    At the same time, scarcity – and not just in an educational sense – is the new normal. Everyday basics like toilet paper, coffee or cooking oil are the subjects of long hunts that lead to the back of an equally long queue. Hospitals cancel operations for lack of supplies and cancer patients miss treatment for lack of medicine. And even though the government’s late March devaluation of the bolivar will fill the shelves in the shops, the average Venezuelan will be unable to afford the supplies.
    For the government, scarcity is just a glitch — just like the blackouts when “iguanas eat the cables” – and not because the energy minister is not doing his job.
    It’s impossible to walk down streets without being paranoid — one eye on the road and the other keeping watch of everything around you. On average 48 people are murdered in the country every day. Venezuelans can be beaten and robbed with no recourse to justice because the police and the criminals are often in partnership.
    The Bolivarian Revolution was supposed to bring improvements, but the lack of daily essentials and a robust education system leads one to the conclusion: The basement has a bottom.
    By Ambar de la Croux

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