One of the reasons I wanted to launch this blog was the situation in Venezuela. Over the past few weeks, I have seen countless news articles about people protesting, as well as many disturbing images on social media.
One YouTube video, “What’s Going On in Venezuela in a Nutshell,” made by Andreina Nash (who was born in Valencia, Venezuela, but moved to Florida at the age of nine) had caught an international attention. The video has been widely shared through social media and has been viewed almost 3 million times so far. I was also first alerted to the situation in Venezuela through this video.
The story looked very clear – an oppressive government is repressing people and killing innocent students. I immediately wanted to jump in and spread the word about this tragedy. I looked for petitions to sign, in support of the people of Venezuela, while I also Tweeted a few posts with a hashtag #SOSVenezuela.
But the more I researched, the more confused I got. Many of the sources I trust as credible were pointing out that this was not such a simple, black-and-white situation. Some claim that students are being manipulated, while others question the U.S. support for regime change [1, 2], that it will undermine democracy in Venezuela.
What is really happening in this country?
While I struggle to come to a conclusion, two things are clear. First, people are getting killed and injured, and violence needs to stop. One article by Wall Street Journal really disappointed me when it explained why this issue is important:
Venezuela, which has the world’s biggest oil reserves, is among the biggest oil exporters and one of the top five suppliers to the U.S., so increased instability could potentially agitate global markets. The country’s domestic and foreign policies have at times have been at odds with those of the U.S. Venezuela’s government has aimed to counterbalance U.S. influence in the region, by supporting other leftist governments, such as those of Cuba, Bolivia, Argentina and Ecuador. Venezuela has also built close ties to Syria and Iran. Further political instability could lead to more deterioration in the local economy, which has faced slowing growth and climbing prices.
When we see a country only for its economic values, we almost forget that people live there. It is that very way of thinking – that economic pursuits are more important than anything else – that fuels violence and brings instability. I wonder if they see that.
Another point that became clear to me is that in many occasions, I hesitated to voice my thoughts on social and international issues because I felt I did not understand enough. Complexity and confusion leads to inaction. Or, sometimes, we may take actions with good intensions, but perhaps not for the right cause, because we precisely lacked clear understanding.
So how can we overcome the inertia of inaction and take wise actions?
To me, what I needed was a framework to analyze the complex issue. I needed to ask questions and find answers.
Since this post is already getting long, that will be my next post. I welcome readers’ thoughts on this issue – but please remember to be respectful, and be open to ideas you may not agree with. With our differences aside, I want to believe we have a common goal: we want to know the truth, and we want peace for Venezuela.