Versión en español
We left on Wednesday at 10:00 am approximately from Caracas to El Tigre, Anzoátegui, when we were going through Boca de Uchire. At approximately 1:30 pm we took damage to the van. We were relaxed because we assumed that they would take 1 hour to fix whatever they had to fix. They said that he had a boat of oil for a screw that was isolated, but the van wasn’t going to move from there, so they tried to call another mechanic to fix it, but the one they found was charging twice what this one was charging. Our organizational team called and did everything that was within their reach until at 9:00 pm exactly, a bus arrived from Barcelona to look for us to be able to go to El Tigre. Yes, we were stranded for 7 and a half hours in a neighborhood that wasn’t so good, but fortunately we were saved.
We did it! We started moving at last, until we were passing through the checkpoint of Clarines, Anzoátegui. The National Guard stopped us and we couldn’t just keep moving. It turns out that the area is very dangerous and we had to be escorted by their patrols to be allowed to pass through. We had to wait, because there was a confrontation between “thugs and security forces”, that less than 300km away there was shooting and looting. We only doubted if we would arrive, but now we also doubted if we’d get there alive. After two hours they opened the way and we finally managed to arrive at 2:30 am at El Tigre, with the desire to eat everything and sleep for 3 days in a row. But we had to be ready and active at 6:00 AM to go out to Soledad, Bolívar City, San Félix, Barrancas and Maturín.
Our agenda was not to deal with accidents, it was to bring supplies to families affected by the flooding of the Orinoco River.
We managed to leave at around 8:00 am and arrived at Soledad, State of Anzoátegui at 9:30 am, where we saw not only how the houses were completely flooded, but also how little by little the fishermen’s shops have disappeared into the rising waters from the river. Later, in Ciudad Bolívar, Bolívar state, the flooding of sectors like La Toma and Perro Seco, and the absence of attention by government organizations, had turned those places into literal copies of Venice: houses submerged in flood waters, families that have lost everything, and populations prone to an endless number of diseases. They have no drinking water, no food, no clothes, no belongings, and they are at the mercy of snakes, bugs, malaria, the CHIKV virus, and any other unmanageable misfortune.
María Oropeza stands knee-deep in water after a recent flood devastated Bolívar City. While she explains how the socialist regime failed the Venezuelan people, she hasn't considered one advantage: under socialism, we don't need roads if we have boats!María Oropeza de Vente Venezuela está sumergida hasta las rodillas en el agua después de que una reciente inundación devastara la ciudad de Bolívar. Mientras ella explica cómo el régimen socialista falló al pueblo venezolano, ella no ha considerado una ventaja: bajo el socialismo, ¡no necesitamos caminos si tenemos barcos!#Venezuela #VenezuelaLibre #FreeVenezuela #CiudadBolívar #BolivarCity #VenteVenezuela #libertarios #wearelibertarian #socialism #flood
Posted by Instituto Mises-Mambí de Cuba on Saturday, August 18, 2018
In the La Laja sector of San Felix, Bolívar, children and their dogs have something in common: their innocence and ability to turn tragedy into fun, swimming playfully through that river of misfortune and disease. These children are good swimmers, and good fishermen. Yes, in the midst of those stagnant waters they also fish, happy with fish, amphibians, whatever they can eat. The children also had to survive this misfortune.
In spite of all the people telling their experiences, they did not fear to denounce the socialist revolution, or their regret for “having voted for the revolutionary process.” They wanted real solutions because they’re tired of the deceptions. They were crying helplessly, asking “Until when?”
Meanwhile, we were missing 2 municipalities to go and my brother sent me a WhatsApp message. He wondered if I was going back home to Guanare, because the next day (August 17) he was leaving the country. I was 16 hours away from Guanare, trying to rebuild a country in the middle of a crisis. He shares my taste for hard rock, but he was a bit more calm and relaxed than I that he was leaving the country and I couldn’t say goodbye to him. However, there was no time to cry because we still needed to get to Barrancas and then Maturín.
We left at 6:18 pm from San Felix, Bolivar and headed to Barrancas, Monagas. We thought we would arrive in 45 minutes but the fast track bridge had collapsed. We arrived after 3 hours, at night, at the mercy of danger and delinquency, but we had made a commitment to the people, so there we were. River flooding is much scarier at night.
Our tour ended in Maturín at 2:00 a.m. In 48 hours we’d only managed to sleep 4 hours. We could only rest until 6:00 am to leave at 8:00 am to get back to Caracas. We got another van for the return trip; the air conditioning didn’t work, but what does that matter if we can open the windows? Well, in the middle of nowhere it just stopped rolling, even though it had plenty of fuel. I have no idea why, I don’t know much about cars. We decided to ride in some trucks and because of positive discrimination, women weren’t sitting in the truck beds, the men were, and they took turns until we got to the Barcelona toll booth. Other vans looked for us and we arrived in Caracas at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.
I’ll tell you, many think that touring a country entails extreme luxuries and fun, and this isn’t always the case. The commitment is real, and you realize it when you’re the one facing the adversities of the transportation crisis, the crime, lack of public services, not being able to eat at the right time, being away from the family, missing important farewells—everything just to accompany your fellow citizens, to be the voice of those who cannot or dare not say what they want.
No matter the long days, the absences, the danger, the setbacks; none of those things matters when you love Venezuela and you’re capable of doing whatever it takes to save her and see her free beyond our wildest dreams. Few activists have made the effort to visit these families, to take them supplies, to denounce the magnitude of this national catastrophe, and to accompany them in the pain of having lost everything except their dignity.
These mishaps are not only experienced by political leaders, journalists, and transporters, but also fathers and mothers, families, Venezuelans just trying to live their daily life.
Each testimony I’ve heard is heartbreaking, but at the same time it’s strangely comforting, as it invites you to see past your own personal reality and to work even harder in this struggle.
This is the Venezuela we have, with problems everywhere, but there are also citizens willing to do anything to see it free and prosperous–in order to see a truly rich country.
Friends, I have no doubt that we will achieve it.
Now more than ever, it is necessary for us to advance and win!
María Oropeza is a Venezuelan human rights lawyer, a dedicated libertarian, and the National Youth Coordinator for the classical liberal party Vente Venezuela.