The country I grew up in is under siege. There is no food, no medicine and it is on a serious downward spiral.
This beautiful country is Venezuela. It boasts tropical forests, majestic Andes, and gorgeous beaches.The people are joyful, happy and enjoy partying, music and dancing. But most of all, they value their Democracy and Freedom.
A few years back President Maduro changed the constitution. He consolidated power and forced extreme socialistic measures on the people.
Today, the Venezuelan people are experiencing untold suffering. Little by little everything they once had no longer exists. There is hardly any food or medicine. People are sick and dying for lack of care. Social services are at breaking point. People of all walks of life are rummaging through garbage cans looking for something to eat.
What was once plentiful is now pitiful. Caracas, the capital, is now the city with the highest crime rate in the world.
Desperate Venezuelans with nothing left to lose are taking to the streets in protest. Hundreds of thousands are marching and making their voices heard.
The brutal military police are showing no mercy. The protesters are victimized by tear gas and gunshots. Many young students are dying for the cause.
I still have family and friends in the country. Their voices have been silenced by a gag on the press and their stories hushed away by threats. They cannot post on social media for fear of repercussions for them or their loved ones.
I communicate with my friends and family via private messenger groups. They live in Venezuela and are begging me to bring awareness to the situation. I use my social media channels to keep everyone updated. My daily routine includes scanning through videos, podcasts, and messages. Then I repurpose messages on Facebook, Instagram, Flipboard, and Twitter.
I felt compelled to write this blog to express the situation as best as I can. Some of you have already read about Venezuela in the mainstream media. What you don’t get to see are the individual stories coming from people that have suffered for years and years.
I am committed to helping by giving a voice to those that are close to me. Yet, it is a challenge knowing what to share. I am not a journalist. The only thing I can do, as a marketer, is to use my social media profiles to share posts that my people can’t share. I wanted something I can send everywhere.
How and What I Share:
- I post videos taken on the ground during protests using Facebook and Twitter.
- I also have been using Twitter to retweet information from other storyteller expats.
- I follow those brave protestors on Instagram or YouTube and either repost or with permission share some of the video I get on messenger apps. This short video documentary by Hernan Jabes recaps the protests:
- Then I collect everything in a Flipboard magazine to send to friends and family outside Venezuela. I have been collecting information here since 2012. There is quite a bit of history here.
My story aside, many others are also telling theirs. Some are brave enough to report from the ground risking their lives for freedom. Many are tear-gassed, beaten and dragged off to jail.
I am hoping that enough awareness will bring attention to the cause. It is not a random country in the middle of nowhere, it’s a serious situation that can affect us all. Look at Syria and so many other countries. I have a strong responsibility to spread the word and bring awareness. You never know how precious something is until it’s gone.