I am from Venezuela. Right now, I am legally living in the United States as a college student trying to build myself a better future, but when I evaluate my present, the word “refugee” shows up everywhere.
My beautiful home, the land that saw my birth, the beaches where I grew up, the city that gave me shelter, I have to see it all shatter apart day after day. My family and friends, whom are spread out all around the world, are broken by this terrible situation, with almost no chance of a reunion.
Venezuela is experiencing its worst crisis in its history. It has the highest inflation rate in the world at over 2 million percent. The monthly minimum salary only covers two pounds of meat, one pound of cheese or just one gallon of milk and a dozen eggs—if you can find them.
The situation evolves daily. Today, conditions look like they are leaning toward one side, but tomorrow could totally change. The best way that I can explain it is that Venezuela is on the edge of a war—it could be a civil war or a war against the U.S., Colombia or Brazil.
“All options are on the table,” said President Trump about Venezuela in February.
The pain of seeing my nation broken is impossible to explain. Celebrities, people that I admire, are sometimes involved in it too. The day after Venezuela Aid Live, the concert whose purpose was to make the world aware of the situation, trucks of humanitarian food and medicine reached the border and tried to get into the country. However, Venezuelan security forces stopped the trucks and burned or stole them.
Some of the celebrities, like Marco Perez, were there, recording everything while witnessing the violence. In his videos, you can hear him yell “They are shooting! They are shooting! I have to record and show, no matter what happens!” Perez is a husband, dad and another Venezuelan like me. When his voice breaks during his act of courage, my heart shatters with him, I lose control of my breath and my eyes begin to fill with tears.
Along with much of my family, almost 3 million Venezuelans have left the country, causing a refugee crisis in South America. Roughly 10% of the population has migrated.
How can I explain to my mother that there is no going back, that leaving Venezuela was a one-way trip? How can I disappoint her when she tells me that she wants to go back to her nation before she dies? My mother is experiencing xenophobia in Ecuador, where she currently lives, even though my family deserves to be peacefully living in its hometown.
Despair, anxiety and fear are the main emotions that guide my daily life. People will ask me about it out of curiosity, worry or simply politeness. They ask me how my family is, what I think is going to happen or just give a comment of the ideal solution like it is that easy.
My answers are limited to my opinion and a big fat “I don’t know.” I wake every day with the hope that I will not see my Venezuelan brothers and sisters suffering anymore.
I believe that right now, politically speaking, everything is going according to plan; the government of Venezuela, that has made its people live in misery, is taking its last breath and finally the last 20 years of deterioration will soon come to an end.
Meanwhile, I will keep hoping, praying and being ready to deal with the fact that the fight is not finished yet. We Venezuelans all give something, be it a courageous fight back home, best wishes from other countries or maybe just a small awareness article from the soul.