Venezuela- the cry of despair

Sat, 2017/10/14

On October 12, Unicef at IIT held their second general body meeting to raise awareness about the current economic crisis of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Asma Suaibi, education chair, explained how children are undernourished, and parents cease sending them to school just simply because their funds are channeled towards food and medical supplies. The situation is degrading day-by-day. Here is what Marianne Neustadlt, a Venezuelan and an ex-student at IIT, has to tell us of her country:

“xxx-xxx-xx, that is my national ID number; the number that identifies me in the system. 31.57 million, that is the number of people who belong to the system, yet it does not represent the true number of inhabitants. Almost  50%  of the  Venezuelan population  currently lives  below the poverty line. Almost 40% of the Venezuelan population lives under the poorest living conditions, which essentially means they get no access to proper healthcare, food, education, and a dignified roof. The situation may be complicated,  but even more complicated  is trying to explain it or choosing where to start.

"On  December  6,  1998,  a  self-proclaimed  “democratic”  government was  elected.  It promised miraculous  things,  it  promised  democracy  at  its  finest,  and  it  promised  to  fulfill  every possible dream. Now, almost nineteen years later, the country is still under the same government and it is crumbling apart. People are scavenging in the trash for the most decent piece of food they can possibly find. Children are put into labor in the streets for mediocre parents and adults who are not willing to look for a job, because that’s the type of thinking the dictatorship we live in has set. Dreams have been crushed and futures have evaporated and have melt into thin air. The list goes on, ranging from newborns found abandoned in trash bags everyday to young teenagers dying out of  hunger,  malnutrition,  and/or  uncured  diseases.  

"Almost  nineteen  years  later,  the  government keeps promising a false democracy. The country may still be divided but we can all agree on one thing: Venezuela is being killed and its people are suffering the consequences. “We are living in the end of times,” says a mother of seven who gave her youngest daughter away  to  her  neighbor  because  she  didn’t  have  the  necessary  resources  to  take  care  of  all  her younglings. Even though we do hear about thousands of stories like this one we also hear about an equal amount of stories about parents working day and night, double and even triple shifts, to cover their families needs. Family members sacrifice their own needs for the young ones and even that is not enough to keep them alive.

"Parents and their families migrate, leaving everything behind because there’s simply no future for their kids and themselves under the conditions the country is in.  Nothing  seems  to  work  right  now  but  that  doesn’t  mean  we  can’t  get  out  of  the  crisis  that currently rule our day to day. ‘Never’ and ‘forever’ are words we cannot afford to use, they’re just too permanent and we can’t work with that. Many  ask  “How  do  you  manage  to  cope  with  a  hyperinflation  of  over  800%?”  as  well  as “How  do  you  manage  to  find  food  when  there’s  none  left?”.  The  answer  to  both  questions  is  the same:  the  need  to  survive.  We  have  managed  to  live  under  these  circumstances  for  many  years, and just now is the international community drawing its attention towards us.

"We have managed to maintain a positive mindset even when everything surrounding us is falling down. That’s ‘Us’. But we have reached a new rock bottom and the line has been drawn. It is time to end the suffering. It is time to leave our spot for one of the most dangerous countries in the world. It is time to take our capital,  Caracas,  out  of  the  #1  spot  for  most  violent  and  dangerous  city  in  the  entire  world.  It is time to bring Venezuela out of the literal debris our own armed forces and government have buried us with. It is time to make every innocent death count. I  carry  my  ID  number  with  pride.  I  carry  my  nationality  with  pride.  With  this  and  every opportunity that is presented to me I take a stand for my country; for those whose voices can't be heard and for those who didn’t even have the option. I take a stand for the children that receive the strongest hit.

"I take stand for every single Venezuelan who is deprived from a proper life. I take a stand for my beautiful country Venezuela, and I invite everyone outside to do so as well. It is time to open our eyes.”

Neutstadlt was here for only a semester, fall of 2016. According to her letter, she is attempting to make an impact in this world, and hopefully be an eye-opener for those who have that “I won’t care until it affects me” attitude. Yes, she was away from her country, but never from her roots. Currently there, she feels the pain of her country and wants to fight back this predicament before it is too late. Unicef IIT member Ananya Bhattacharya contacted her after we learned of the current crisis that Venezuela is facing. As a benevolent organization, UNICEF needed to take actions, ones that can aid thousands of Venezuelans who are in the darkest of times.

Unicef IIT is hence fundraising for Venezuela through Halloween culture. They have distributed small orange boxes throughout campus, at places like Global Grounds, residence halls, IIT tower, and others. They are known as trick-or-treating (TOT) boxes. Besides, the executive members have launched “penny wars” between MSV halls, SSV buildings, and Carman and Gunsaulus. This challenge has the purpose of making residents compete under their respective halls with each other. The winning residence hall/building will be rewarded with surprise gifts. All the money collected through either TOT boxes or the penny wars will be channeled to Venezuela.

Unicef IIT is hence urging us to react to this situation and perform our duty as a global citizen. The people of Venezuela are counting on our generosity for their daily survival.