As Venezuela's political and economical situation continues to escalate, we asked two Venezuelan artists for their take on the political issues and humanitarian crisis affecting the South American country, which have led to shortage of basics like medicine and food. Just last week, president Nicolás Maduro shut down the opposition-led National Assembly signaling a shift towards total dictatorship. Maduro has since then reinstated the parliament's legislative powers.
Below, Oscar Hernández (also known as Oscarcito), a singer-songwriter born in Caracas, details Venezuela's reality, how its people have changed because of the need, what he feels after seen his childhood friends losing weight because they eat only once a day, and how the increase in crime has led many innocent lives.
Venezuela: A Different Country From the One We Know!
My country's situation is critical ... we are immersed in the greatest humanitarian crisis in the history of our nation. Children are dying from a shortage of medicine, more and more people are feeding themselves from what they find in the garbage. After not finding a way to make money and feed their children, many parents have turned to crime and it seems that crime went from being an anarchic act to an act of survival.
There is no possibility of progress for young people. It is impossible to live with the wretched salary they receive even if they are professionals. In the contemporary history of Venezuela, this is the first time there is an outflow of talent. Prepared young people have no choice but to leave the country in order to achieve economic stability. Our most emblematic and important doctors, engineers, architects, or any other profession that requires preparation for many years, also had to leave. Even then, the majority of Venezuelans in exile don't practice their profession for which they prepared themselves. Doctors are driving taxis, engineers work in valet parking and architects are housekeepers. And while those aren't denigrating jobs, it was not the profession they chose, it was the profession that took their feet out of the mud!!!
In Venezuela there is no industry that works, neither the textile industry, nor agricultural, nor artistic, none ... it is incredible that no industry works. It is unfortunate to see older people protesting, elders marching, old people sad and defeated because they don't know how to live in Venezuela today. Many die due to a shortage of medicines, others of malnutrition, others die from a heart attack because of rage.
A personal anecdote: It had been four months since I had last visited my country and when I returned, I saw many friends and acquaintances who had drastically lost weight, and it was not because they exercised and had a balanced diet, no, it is simply because they only eat once a day.
The crime grows daily. In the past few years, more than 20,000 Venezuelans have died violent deaths. The kidnapping became a very "popular" profession and those who practice it have everything in their favor. The common criminal possesses war weapons of high and sophisticated caliber -- even more than the national police. I assumed that the armed forces are the ones who have control of these types of weapons so then the question is: who sells the armament to the criminals? The other question that I ask is the following: Who really are the delinquents?
The neighborhood where I grew up could never stop being a neighborhood. Childhood friends who had very low resources, could never leave the precarious lifestyle.
Even though Venezuela is one of the countries with the largest oil reserves in the world, illogically, we suffer gasoline shortages. We have the worst judicial system in Latin America. We have the worst internet system in Latin America. Nothing is working out. And how does an athlete win a medal if he is not feeding himself well? What happened to my country? We all know the answer. They continue to impose a political, economic and social model that restructured my country and has failed these past 20 years.
The current government does not like the word democracy, therefore, the elections are not a priority. Apparently the priority is to defend the revolution ... I wonder, what revolution? If Venezuela were a country with real revolutionary ideas, why have so many left? Why doesn't any foreigner want to live in Venezuela?
I have faith that under the intentional pressure we will go to the elections and eradicate, by the way of the vote and in a definitive way, the idea of living in 21st century socialism.
We will once again be the country our grandparents knew. We will once again be the prosperous country that I once knew. Venezuela is the country where I want my children to be born, where I want to live the rest of my days and where I want to return to work in a dignified way.