About Venezuela

Submitted by Mirna S. Vegas de Hughes
Mirna S. Vegas de Hughes

Mirna S. Vegas de Hughes

I am a daughter, I am a sister, I am a mother, I am a wife, I am a friend … I am a Bajan….but at this moment more than anything else I am a VENEZUELAN!

Our friends may be asking themselves what’s up with all these FB posts, protests, candlelight vigils that their Venezuelan friends are doing. Why they don’t see much in the press and when they see something on TV or the print media comes from the Venezuelan embassy in Barbados or from one of its  lobbyists.   Let me tell you how important all this activities are for an entire country’s future.

Venezuela has been under the governance of Hugo Chavez’s ideology , Socialism of the XXI Century, for the last 15 years. I will try not to get into my personal beliefs and opinions about the system, but the fact is that the opposition has been constantly growing and now is, or at least seems to be, the vast majority. The country is facing an economic and social crisis, but the government’s incompetence led by the current president Nicolás Maduro has resulted in a big crisis.

On February 12th, Youth Day in Venezuela, the Student Movement called all students to join them in protest against violence and insecurity. However, as students raised their voices, the protests evolved and many Venezuelans joined. So why do they protest now?

These are the main reasons:

Violence: Venezuela is among the most dangerous countries in the world, even more dangerous than some countries in war. In Iraq 9,472 people were killed during 2013; in Venezuela that number was 24,700+. That’s more than double and it represents a murder every 20 minutes! What worsens it is the impunity. 92% of crimes go unsolved. Fear is the norm.

Scarcity: Medicines are scarce in the entire country; the shelves in pharmacies are half empty. Even the hospitals are having serious problems with the lack of necessary medications and consequently thousands of patients cannot receive proper treatments. It has been estimated that the pharmaceutical industry faces a shortage of 40%. As if this was not enough, the most basic products are almost impossible to find. Milk, sugar, flour, cooking oil, chicken, some fruits, and toilet paper are a luxury in Venezuela. People stand in lines for hours every single day waiting to see if they can miraculously get some toilette paper. Desperation has even caused massive conflicts inside the supermarkets where people fight over a bag of flour, sugar, milk, etc

Corruption: This one is no secret. The Venezuelan government is grotesquely corrupt. They claim to have increased the investment in social causes by 25% since Hugo Chávez first became president 15 years ago. However, even if this is true (although we all know it has been poorly invested and mismanaged) back in 1999 the oil price was around $9 per barrel; today it fluctuates around $100 this is over a 1,000% increase. It’s been 16 years and Venezuela has the lowest economic growth index (1%) of Latin America! So where has all the money gone? Clearly, the government, a group of corrupt functionaries and a few businessmen have stolen thousands of millions of dollars from the Venezuelan people. Public corruption… Police officers are more of the people’s enemies than their protectors. Not saying all of them, but many are involved in arm and drug dealing, robberies and kidnapping.

Devaluation and Inflation:Venezuela is facing an economic crisis and it’s on the verge of an economic collapse. I am not an economy expert so I will try to keep it as simple as possible and as I understand it.

Ten years ago, Chávez implemented a currency control that restricts the flow of dollars in and out of Venezuela. Basically, if you want dollars, you have to buy them from the government and they decide whether to sell them to you or not and how much you are entitle to according to the destination. (Now if you go to Panama you don’t get any, Barbados you get US$1,000 if you are coming for more than 8 days) Since then, they have devaluated the Bolívar, our currency, five times. This means that our currency is worth less; we can buy less dollars with the same amount of Bolívares (Bs). You might ask how that affects the average Venezuelan who gets paid in Bs. and spends in Bs.? Simple. The government’s mismanagement of the economy during the last 16 years has led the local industries to bankruptcy. Most companies, both private and public, have been forced to stop production because they were losing money. As a result, around 70% of all items consumed in Venezuela are imported. The consequence? Inflation rates are the highest in the continent; last year it registered 56,2% but it is estimated that during 2014 inflation will reach an astonishing 75%. It means that the price of almost everything in Venezuela has increased astonishingly. The market basket of basic food costs Bs.8,590 which is almost three times more than the minimum wage of Bs.3,270. The problem is evident; the average Venezuelan has to fight to find the most basic products, and the ones they can get are too expensive.

Human Rights Violations: Since the protests started, Human Rights have been violated all around the country. 14 people have been officially reported as murdered and a 21 year-old male student declared to have been raped with a riffle by the military. Hundreds of students and civilians have been arrested, sexually assaulted, tortured, kidnapped, severely injured, and violently repressed by the police, the military and paramilitary groups. These last ones are Venezuela’s guerrilla group and are known as “Tupamaros”. They are heavily armed, trained and violent. They have deep social resentment and hatred against the opposition. They claim to have no association with the government but evidence shows the contrary. They go around the cities at night in motorcycles, assaulting anyone and anything, breaking into buildings, and even killing people. It really is horrid and terrifying. Just Google “Venezuelan protests 2014” and you will find hundreds of videos. You may no understand them but you will see for yourself and hear the panic and fear in the voices of the people.

Censorship: The president Nicolás Maduro constantly states that Venezuela enjoys a beautiful democracy. Reality is that this government threatens, punishes and persecutes anyone who opposes them. A few weeks ago, Maduro ordered the capture and imprisonment of the opposition’s rising leader, Leopoldo López. First of all, it is against the law that the president requests the incarceration of any citizen; that is the job of the Judicial Power, which is supposed to be independent and clearly isn’t. And second, Leopoldo did not commit any crimes; his human rights are being violated.

Moreover, many radio stations and TV channels have been eliminated from Venezuela throughout the last 16 years for supporting the opposition and showing information that the government didn’t want the people to see. More recently, the government “bought” Globovisión, the last public channel from the opposition. Only a few days ago, the government ordered to remove NTN24, a Colombian channel, from all Venezuelan cable because they were showing the violence occurring during the protests. After that, they threatened to remove CNN en Español and cruelly forced their globally recognised reporter, Patricia Janiot, to leave the country immediately. To top it all, due to scarcity increases, newspapers are having real issues finding paper, thus keeping up with their duty to inform through print. The existing media channels in the country don’t dare to show anything that might upset the government. Auto-censorship. The only one still standing is CNN en Español that despite the threats has kept informing. However, this channel is only seen through private cable; around 90% of the country has no access to it. This is why social media has become the opposition’s biggest weapon. There is absolutely no way of knowing what is going on in the country besides Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.Social media is our only weapon. Social media is our voice. Social media is the only window to Venezuela’s reality.We need to raise awareness. We want the world to know. We need international organisations to notice. We need the governments of the world to take a stand against the violation of human rights. We need the leaders of the world to condemn the violence that the Venezuelan government is taking against its people.

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

~Desmond Tutu~

30 thoughts on “About Venezuela

  1. It is surprising that the determination of the American Empire to overthrow the Venezuelan government did not figure as a major causative reason. That determination has long been known . In fact the forces at work in Venezuela today are not different to Ukraine, Iran, Syria and the hundreds of times the ugly Americans have created projects for the elimination of governments they don’t like for centuries. They started with the Philippines at the start of the 20th century. Since then they have removed hundreds of government with soft coups, hard coup, war, rigged elections and other subterfuge. Some argue that American arrogance goes back to the Haitian Revolution and there is ample evidence to support a conspiracy between the Americans and the French to subvert the Haitian Revolution. They fought wars to influence politics in Haiti. In this epoch soft coup seem to be the order of the day. So ill-informed people like this writer could convenient misinterpret the recent and not so recent history of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to serve American and elite interests.

  2. Pachamama,

    As a Barbadian who has lived in Venezuela I can say that you have no idea what you are talking about. The only ill-informed person here is you. And if the Americans are “behind” the present uprising in Venezuela then at least they are doing the right thing to get ride of a communist party that has once again shown the world that socialism / communism does not work. Those of you who want Barbados to go that way can clearly see where that leads to – or at least the rest of us can see right through your leanings.

    SOS Venezuela

  3. DEVALUATION AND INFLATION……it certainly shows the problems that can arise from FX controls and fixed currency pegs. A great example of how not to run a country. It just seems to me that the inadequate sharing of wealth results in the suppressing of democracy and a fight for freedom to restore it. Could Brasil be next?

  4. “So ill-informed people like this writer could convenient misinterpret the recent and not so recent history of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to serve American and elite interests”

    As similarly un-informed people like you chose to ignore the fact that Chavez on more than one occasion sought to overthrow the legitimate government of Venezuela by violent means; that at this moment Russia is fraudulently annexing Crimea from Ukraine and that history of the overthrow of Governments to serve countries’ interests is not an American evil alone.

  5. @ Mirna

    Tell me something about the African population in Venezuela. Their demographics, their social standing, their political involvement, how they are treated by the rest of society, career opportunities etc.

  6. It is with total vexation that we read this morning on http://www.nationnews.com that this mindless and intellectually bankrupt DLP government is proposing to pass on, and an undeclared time in the future, and to an unmentioned private interest, a very productive asset installation called the Barbados National Oil Company, while at the same time proposing to get about $70 million from the same unmentioned other.

    Now clearly this proposal is utter MADNESS and WICKEDNESS.

    The Barbados National Oil Company is a very important and strategic asset of the people of Barbados and that attempts to mine for and actually mines mostly in many parts of St George, St Philip, Christ Church in Barbados, and that pipelines and stores in tanks this petroleum of the people of Barbados.

    Too, we have been made to understand by fairly reliable sources that it also does an amount of exporting of this petroleum for refinery in Trinidad and Tobago, for ultimate purposes of the end products being sent back here.

    This petroleum – albeit not of great amounts in Barbados – is still a very important resource of the people of Barbados.

    Therefore, for any government to be attempting to do anything to take away from these very fundamentals by proposing to put this very important and strategic asset in the hands of private local or international concerns, will be nothing short of another madass proposal to pass on yet another important and strategic asset of the people of Barbados to another set of greedy narrow minded local or foreign interests that – in this instance though – will greater help determine control what the majority of the receivers of the by-products of petroleum would have to give up, or not, out of their remunerations, in order to get these by products – in such circumstances of the passing on of the Barbados National Oil Company.

    We smell a VERY, VERY STINK DEAD RAT here!!

    The vulgarity and cruelty of this proposal is the more seen by the PDC when this same intellectually and politically bankrupt and discredited disorganization is at the same time, according to the Nation newspaper of Monday, March 17, 2014, proposing to acquire an UNPRODUCTIVE former Globe Cinema building on Roebuck; and when it some time ago would have started to build and very recently did finish yet another beautiful but UNPRODUCTIVE green space – the Church Village green space – to help create more relaxed minds and moods, in the face of falling national PRODUCTIVITY and PRODUCTION.

    Finally, as a result of this proposal to pass this very PRODUCTIVE monopoly of the people to private interests – and which is yet another glaring example of the gross and reckless mismanagement by the DLP and BLP of the national political affairs of this country, we are asking as many people as possible to organize themselves, get the necessary police permission, and take to the streets of Bridgetown, and, for as many days as possible, to demonstrate that these two older obnoxious parties must for ever go from the political governmental landscape of this country for all the fundamental wrongs that they have been doing to so many people and sectors of this country.

    So, Down with the Damned DLP and the Blasted BLP.


  7. i have known of several women that come to barbados looking to marry a bajan man to get out of Venezuela.
    then they try to set up their friends with some bajan man to marry and so on and so forth.
    this is known in barbados .usually the girls are very pretty and with their accents accomplish getting a rich white bajan man usually..
    then they have children and then they have divorce. or let us say they
    party off the husbands money.
    my question is are you one of them and why do you not go back to
    Venezuela and help physically.all of you gold diggers.lol
    should go back together and stand in the streets to help if you are so concerned.not just have drinks and go on the beach.ha ha
    you know who you are dont you.???????

  8. oh yes the Venezuelan men are really violent and passionate as are the women and most Latins.so instead of violence try to calm down and do it
    non violently with a representative of the majority.
    or we could send in the barbados army..to straighten things out.
    all you have listed above ie ,corruption and so on are in barbados also
    it is just that the bajans are not as wild and passionate as you Latins.
    in a woman passion is good but in a man it over comes his sensibility..
    there fore he may end up dead.it is a bad situation.but will your allies
    help.do you have any allies ?

  9. Extremely huge gap between rich ‘elite’ and poor working class, hot temperamental latino(a) mentality, uncaring, arrogant government recipe for disaster.


    Well Well | March 18, 2014 at 1:08 PM | @ Why did you stop , keep going l nice group of words lololol

  11. I heard a report on the BBC yesterday that there were 25000 murders in Venezuela last year … Now where did this come from ..? Is that even possible without a war in progress ..? The signs are always the same .. and now there is Air Canada. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this is orchestrated …

    Haiti lost its legitimate President through orchestrated internal strife, which included arming the opposition parties. To this day the Aristide is barred from returning to Haiti, and this is not odd? This world is packed to the hilt with sick Jack asses like Balance, and exploitative business will always rest assured that there will be support for the shite that they have been able to get away with over the years.

  12. BAFBFP on March 18, 2014 at 4:38 PM:

    “There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this is orchestrated.”

    As the record attests, Baffy (“rape is fun”) BAFBFP, your mind is probably not the best, so what doubts that mind might have are really not important.

  13. Plantation…….thanks, .i don’t think you saw the thread where i asked who was sir HAM, can’t say i know who that is, does he have another name in Barbados?

  14. Jack says my mind is probably not the best, and Jack is right … Ah never said that it was. But this mind is troubled when a lot of what is happening, shortages and industry failures after devaluations (which incidentally are supposed to reduce domestic business costs) are being blamed on Government. 25,000 people in a year violently killed … and who is doing the killing ..? In any event, is the rate not higher in several states of the good old USA to which very little attention is drawn ..?

    Is the Venezuelan Government incompetent ..? There is every chance that it is and it shares a similar accusation with every other country North of the equator, with a few exceptions.

  15. @Hal Austin | March 18, 2014 at 4:58 AM |

    “Tell me something about the African population in Venezuela. Their demographics, their social standing, their political involvement, how they are treated by the rest of society, career opportunities etc.”

    I like how you have phrased this question. We all know the answer to this and what you are alluding to.

    I have no idea why this lady has placed this post on BU and referenced Desmond Tutu. Ex-Nazis and Conquistadors make for terrible bedfellows. Chavez for all his faults tried his best to liberate the poor of Venezuela and was a friend of the Caribbean.

    Demystifying Africa’s Absence in Venezuelan History and Culture

  16. Are it the Freemason Illuminati Medici wid dey centuries-old power??? Say it ain’t so!!??!!

    It ARE de Illuminati!!!

  17. Or are it de Rothschild Bilderbergers wid dey millennia-old plan ta keep we from dah troot???

    It ARE de Bilderbergs!! Dey is LOLing at we wid dey smiley faces and dey multiple exclamations and dey smiley faces wot I already menshun. It are the, er, Illuminati!!!!

    And the Freemasons, too.

    And the globalist ZR van drivers in de CSME wid dey Jamaican bashment.

  18. BAF….Aristide is in Haiti,long time since….

    We talk/gibber and in most cases have not a clue about the subject matter.

    Hal….asks about the melanin rich…..I was a regular in Caracas during the 70’s and they were enjoying themselves….not sure what he/balance is getting at.



  21. Is it the mental shackles of slavery that keeps making us use smiley faces with far too many exclamations?

    It are!!!!! (smiley face)

    It’s all because of slavery. All of it. Every single failing in my life is because of slavery.

    Insert smiley face, say LOL, say ROTFLMAO. Check friends on Facebook.

  22. I am Venezuelan, came to Barbados just before all the craziness started and married a Bajan man, not a rich Bajan man, but he has a heart of gold and I love him to death, any way you narrow minded people who think all the Venezuelan women are gold diggers, I hope you never ever have to go through what we are going through in Venezuela, and if you ever have to go to another country I hope you find and marry a rich old man who makes your life miserable…and yes we are passionate. Isn’t that better than the lame and cold hearted people I find everyday in this country..???

    If your mother had been a Latin woman you’d know how to treat, respect and cherish one. Clearly you were not fortunate enough! Instead of focusing on “Desperate House Wifes” give this post the importance it so deserves: A CIVIL WAR IS ABOUT TO EXPLODE IN YOUR BACKYARD AND ALL YOU CARE IS ABOUT THE MONEY SOME EX-WIFE TOOK FROM YOU!

    Do you think a civil war in Venezuela will not affect you or this country? Think again, Bajan gigolo! When price of oil explodes, again, because Venezuela cannot supply anymore, when the Petro Caribe deal is stopped and regional oil and gasoline demand increases, when you cannot fill your car tank, when food becomes more expensive, when your electricity bill doubles, when everything you know costs more you will join the dots… until then keep living your sorry life sipping rum punch and shedding tears for your Latina ex-wife and the money she took from you.

  24. ” This world is packed to the hilt with sick Jack asses like Balance, and exploitative business will always rest assured that there will be support for the shite that they have been able to get away with over the years.”

    Ali Baba, despite their imperfections and mine and yours as well I would rather live under a system governed by the USA, Great Britain or Canada than under one managed by Russia, China , North Korea or Venezuela or Cuba.

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