News - January 25, 2018

Meanwhile in... Venezuela

Julia Schafer

Over the past 18 years the regime in Venezuela has gradually undermined democracy and established autocratic structures. People are suffering from a severe political and economic crisis. The popular opposition leader Oscar Pérez was killed by government forces last week. Alessandra Moncho hopes for more support from the international community.

The murdered Venezuelan opposition leader Oscar Pérez.

We need humanitarian aid

‘The news that Pérez was killed by order of the regime scared me deeply. Through this act the government made clear that they are ready to destroy any opposition. Pérez was a pilot from the police who rose up against the injustices of the regime and encouraged protests. Last week, armed forces surrounded the house where he was hiding with members of his anti-government cell.

I follow the news from Venezuela through social media since the government controls the official sources. I was shocked by what I saw. Video material reveals that Pérez completely surrendered to the police. According to the law, a surrender grants you the right to stay unharmed in order to be taken to court. Yet the house was attacked and Pérez and several others were killed. The regime committed a crime in front of everyone's eyes and nobody could do anything about it.

Alessandra Moncho, an MSc student of Food Biotechnology from Venezuela, talks about the crisis in her country.
Alessandra Moncho, an MSc student of Food Biotechnology from Venezuela, talks about the crisis in her country.

I feel helpless and I am frustrated that the government is succeeding in spreading fear. My family has doubts about joining any more protests. Most of my friends have left the country. The economic situation in Venezuela is horrible. Hyperinflation is taking place due to economic mismanagement. People are dying due to shortages of medication since the government limits imports and is not accepting humanitarian aid. Food prices are ridiculously high. Many inhabitants cannot feed themselves and their families. Riots occur regularly these days and the crime rate is increasing.

I am constantly worried that something will happen to my family. In my view, Venezuela has become a dictatorship with people suffering the consequences. I think the international community should pay more attention to the critical situation there. I do not believe we can solve the problems on our own. We need humanitarian aid, fair elections, and negotiations that are not controlled by the regime.’