Friday, February 12, 2010

Letter from Venezuela - A different perspective to Valentine's Day


4F the Day of found Dignity

Today is a very special day for Venezuelans.  Its the day when people in Venezuela and around the world got to see for the first time, a young military man by the name of Hugo Chavez Frias.  Today is the day, he decided to raise the sword of Bolivar in defense of his country and his country men.  Today is the day of the failed coup attempt, in which he took personal responsibilty for the attempt on national t.v., asked the soldiers to lay down their arms and issued his famous statement,  "por ahora" for now.

Up until that point the people of Venezuela have been suffering under the yoke of oppression. They were living with price increases every day, to satifity the World Bank and the IMF.  The president at that time,  Perez along with these institutions lead the country into debt and the people were made to pay.    Oil was trading at $7.00 per barrel and 50% of the population was living in poverty, with half of those living in extreme poverty. 

The coup attempt opened a window for the people of Venezuela.  They woke up from a long slumber and expressed what the people in power had told them not to even pay attention to.  Chavez,  was only an  expression of what many of  the people of Venezuela were feeling.  They had had enough of the promises of a better life.  Yet while the population was getting promises, the people in power  were clearly enjoying that better life.

With each new economic plan issued by the government, the IMF and the World Bank, the people of Venezuela found themselves paying more and getting nothing in return but starvation and promises.  There were daily price increases on almost every item to pay off the debt .  Meanwhile there was no running water, there was little employment, people couldnt buy food, in many of the poor areas there no electricity, children couldnt go to school to get an education if they parents couldnt pay, and no healthcare, but the people in power kept promising.  For many of the people in power, this system was quite ok, since they were benefiting from the polices while Venezuelans paid the price.  Then came Chavez on the 4th of February, and the souls of the Venezuelan people woke up. 

Since then,  history has been written.  Chavez is now the President of Venezuela. 

This week is the 10 year anniversary of the Bolivarian revolution and what accomplishments have been made.  There is now running water in most of the areas in Venezuela, children are now going to school, there are free hospitals, roads, trains, schools and universities and low cost fuel and food for all to enjoy. Yes there is stil work to be done, and thats why they have the amendment.

But the story of Venezuela is not only about Venezuela, its about a people who have been trampled on, lied to, manipulated and abused for many years, while being fed promises of a better life.  The story of Venezuela is the story of hope to all those people around the world who are looking for a better future, for themselves, their children and their nation.  The story of Venezuela is the story of so many of the people of the world, who all aspire to a better day, where they can walk with their heads held high.  The story of Venezuela is the story of a people who one day wake up and find their dignity.


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