r By Maria Jose Bernal
Twenty years ago, Venezuela’s population made the wrong choice in the 1999 presidential election when Hugo Chavez was proclaimed president. They were looking for a new perspective and a new way of government, but they did not know what was waiting for them in the future. rrOver the years, this decision has been bringing economic, political, and social crisis, and day after day the effects of this crisis are affecting more and more people. The trigger was the proclamation of Nicolas Maduro as the Venezuelan president when Chavez died. The poor administration of Maduro’s government has led the country to inhuman living conditions, inconceivable inflation rate (60.321% when the US rate is about 2%), massive emigration rates, and internal political wars that have left thousands of people dead. The snowball keeps growing and the quality of life in Venezuela every day is decreasing to merciless conditions. The Venezuelan crisis is not only affecting the country itself but also its neighbors. rrAlmost like a “brother country” geographically talking, Colombia has been severely affected by the Venezuelan crisis mainly because of its location. I am a native from Colombia and lived all my life there until I started college. I lived in Bucaramanga (a city relatively close to the border with Venezuela), which was a booming city full of economic, cultural, and social growth. As refugees poured in, the development of Bucaramanga stalled dramatically. I was living with the people who unfortunately had to immigrate and run away from their houses looking for new beginnings and opportunities that let them support their family back home.rrThis issue not only affects the nearby countries but also the ones who had established any commercial relationship with it, like the US. Trump’s administration imposed some oil sanctions that prohibit most American businesses from engaging from transactions with Venezuelan oil companies. These financial penalties could cost about 7 billion dollars in losses for Maduro’s government. That is why we all should be aware of how this crisis could cause a worldwide consequence. rrSo, no matter where you come from or where you are at this moment, now that you know the living conditions in Venezuela, now that you know that they need our support, and now that you know that this crisis affects a lot of countries, now that you are conscious and informed about this unfortunate issue, it is time to adopt an action plan. To help, you do not need to do any direct action or to volunteer, there are more accessible ways in which we could help them such as make a donation (nothing too big, $5 is a great start). At pahpv.org you can donate the amount of money that you wish to give to this humanitarian cause. Now there are no excuses, let’s help!