The Beginning of Ending the Nightmare

Adriana leyba, Contributing Writer

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Agentes de las fuerzas de seguridad venezolanas se enfrentan con los manifestantes en el Puente Internacional Santander de Francisco de Paula en Cúcuta, Colombia, el 24 de febrero del 2019. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald)

Venezuelan citizens overthrew dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez 61 years ago. On Wednesday January 24, the anniversary of this regime change, thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets in a movement against President Nicolas Maduro. Head of National Assembly Juan Guaido claimed Maduro’s presidency was illegitimate since it went against the constitution. Therefore, Guaido had to step up as Venezuela’s rightful, temporary president. Countries like the United States, Canada, and France recognized Guaido as the nation’s new leader; this bold position is the first step toward freedom in Venezuela.

More than 14 million Venezuelans voted Guiado into office as head of the country’s National Assembly. Even though many news outlets and people are talking about “self-proclamation,” Guaido acted within his authority by stepping up as president; article 233 in the Venezuelan Constitution backs him up. “The President of the Republic shall become permanently unavailable to serve (if duly declared by the National Assembly; and recall by popular vote.) The President of the National Assembly shall take charge of the Presidency of the Republic.”

Recent protests are different from any others in the past. We wanted to show the world that Guaido had our total support and that we did not agree with the current government. Coup, revolution―call it whatever you want to! Venezuelans were tired of having an inept leader and had to show the world that the country deserved better.  

For the past 10 years my country’s economy has been deteriorating as it experienced the worst inflation rate in 2018. Shortages of food and medicine was commonplace; the average Venezuelan has lost 24 pounds since this problem evolved in 2015. People dying of hunger and eating from the trash was a normal thing to be seen in the streets of my city. Not to mention Caracas became one of the cities with the highest homicide rate in the world according to the Research Council of Safety. I became so concerned with the country’s insecurity that I started suffering from anxiety; I could barely sleep at night with the thought of my parents being murdered in the streets barely let me sleep at night.

Maduro’s government has been linked with drug trafficking and corruption. Venezuelans decided to show their discontent protesting in the streets;  where more than 100 people were killed and thousands were unfairly imprisoned by the armed force.

As the years passed, my hope began to fade. Even though we never really stopped fighting for the country we deserved, it felt like we were trapped in our own nightmare. For a leader like Guaido to step up meant something for the Venezuelan people.

I lost the opportunity to grow up in my country. I had to escape my own home because there was no future at only eleven years old. The only thing I could worry about was my safety. All these years living abroad I’ve imagined my life all around the world, but not Venezuela.

Now, for the first time in years I saw a future there. The possibility to be able to claim what was once taken away from me. This is only the beginning of the end of the nightmare. We still haven’t won anything, and the only way to kick Maduro out of power is for the protests to continue. Through peaceful demonstrations and showing support to our interim president, Juan Guaido, Venezuelan will gain the freedom we have been craving for the past 20 years.