In 2000 my husband and I took a cruise to Central and South America. We visited Belize, Costa Rico, Panama, Columbia, and Venezuela. Each country was very unique and interesting but Venezuela stands out in my mind.
I will never forget the first glimpse of the city of Caracas as the ship pulled into port. The houses were stacked on top of each other as in the photo above. All the bright colors of paint were pretty, but there were also houses with no paint at all. Some looked like cardboard and others like scrap pieces of tin made into simple boxes. The poverty was obvious and most of the houses with dirt paths between them looked as though they could topple off the hillside at any moment.
We were walking around Caracas taking in the sights when we found ourselves in a crowd of people near a government building of some kind. Suddenly there was shouting and the sound of gunfire into the air. A large group of men marched through a spontaneous opening in the crowd and we quickly went the other way and re-boarded our ship. We heard little about the insurrection as it seems that it was not an unusual event in Venezuela. We did learn however that one of our fellow passengers had a heart attack and died on the scene during that uprising.
That frightening day has been on my mind as I watch today’s news of the division and civil unrest that continues in that country. Nicolas Maduro has been the President since 2013, but today he is challenged by another politician who claims to be the interim President. The US, Canada and most of Europe support Juan Guaido, Maduro’s opposition while Russia, China, Syria, Cuba, and Iran support Maduro. Meanwhile, the citizens suffer from lack of food and basic necessities even though adequate supplies have been provided by the US and other countries. The government/military will not allow people to be fed or provided medical care. This situation is beyond my comprehension, but once again those of us who have enough food, shelter, and healthcare need to recognize how fortunate we are. Further, it should be clear why there are refugees from such places.
“Let’s dig deep to build the kind of police force that our fatherland really deserves. We need a revolution of the police force here in Venezuela, and I will carry it out without delay, without excuses.” Nicolas Maduro