A few days ago I started working on a post for this blog trying the explain to situation in Venezuela for people who are not familiar with the politicial and economic situation there and help you understand why Ali wants to leave so badly and why moving to Venezuela is no option for me. Well, events in Venezuela have forestalled my post in planning.
For a few days now there have been demonstrations against Venezuelan president Maduro, initiated and encouraged by the dire economic situation in Venezuela und recent bottlenecks in supplies. Just the other day Ali was jokingly saying that it was good I am not there right now to put up with his body odor because he ran out of deodorant and was unable to get any new in the stores. Many basic products like wheat or toilet paper are hardly availabel. To get a better idea of the shortsfalls you may watch the video by Skynews below, this video or this feature by German ARD Weltspiegel.
According to Agence France Press and other sources cited by Yahoo News two demonstrators died on Wednesday, apparentaly another person died in the meantime (see Reuters below). It is quite difficult to find reliable and neutral sources. Press freedom is a difficult topic in Venezuela and I would go almost as far as to say it does not exist. While private media mainly reports onesided against the government, state media reports onesided for the government. Both does not help press freedom. Reporters without borders has published their map of press freedom 2013 just a few days ago and has classified Venezuela as country with “noticable problems”. Ali said there were mainly soap operas and movies on state TV on wednesday all day, only features of pro-government demonstrations were broadcasted and there have been reports of the Colombian cable TV channel NTN24’s live coverage having been censored by the Venezuelan government. I am not sure what to believe and I think many Venezuelans feel the same.
Many of the anti-government demonstrators are students, Ali’s brother is one of them and although I am not especially religious I can only pray for his safety. This video by news agency Reuters gives a short but good overview over the recent events.
All this does extremely worry me, of course. If you have a look at the video from Barquisimeto (Ali’s hometown) below, you somehow feel yourself reminded of news coverage from the Arab Spring. Ali himself says he hasn’t been this afraid for civil war in years and that worries me even more. It has always been my nightmare that Venezuela will sink in chaos overnight and there will be hardly any way out for him. I know there is no point in worrying because all I can do is sit here, hope and wait but the feeling of helplessness is killing me. It does show me quite plainly how urgent it is for Ali to finally leave Venezuela. I keep my fingers crossed that we work something out soon and will keep you updated.