Sometimes worlds collide. Even though this is supposed to be a space for stories about Vancouver’s idiosyncrasies, my country’s own idiosyncrasy got in the middle; maybe, in some extent, it is also a part of the city’s peculiarities to have protesters from all around the world gathering once in a while in Robson Square to express their feelings, thoughts, unrest the things that happen back home.
This Friday Feb. 14, around 50 Venezuelans were not thinking about red hearts and flowers; they were worrying about their family members, friends, and fellow countrymen in general who are taking part in the anti-government demonstrations that are taking place in various cities. These protests are being crashed by police and military officers who use tear gas and rubber bullets to dissuade rioters.
Three people have been killed, 71 were wounded and 127 have been incarcerated since Feb. 12 (by Feb. 15’s afternoon, 112 people had been released from prision, 47 still remained), when the demonstrations began as part of the commemoration of Youth Day. Usually, during this national holiday, students from around the country gather to ask for justice and improvements to the general well-being of the population. This year, the focus was on more security for the people, as the crime rates in Venezuela have become alarming.
Caracas is the third most violent city in the world and the events unfolding right now, are a clear example of that.
Lack of opportunities for young people, lack of food provisions, lack of proper healthcare, high inflation, government’s monopoly of media outlets and the subsequent biased information, among other issues, are also the things people are protesting about, both in Venezuela and in different cities around the globe.
Back in Vancouver, this is what the people in the demonstrators said:
And here is the graphic testimony: