By Emily Dougherty and Lindsey De Jesus
Venezuela was once one of Latin America’s most prosperous countries, but for the last two decades, the people have lived through one of the worst humanitarian crises.
When late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez began his dictatorship in 1999, a socio-economic and political crisis erupted. This situation still continues today with the presidency of Nicolas Maduro. It is marked by hyperinflation, escalating starvation, diseases spreading, along with high crime and morality rates, which is resulting in massive emigration from the country, according to many news reports.
Central Florida has a huge Venezuelan community, and many of these people have recently come to Florida in search of a new life.
Oscar Zabala, 20, is a student at SSC. He came to the United States in 2015.
“Moving here was a big change for my family and I,” Zabala explained. “We had everything in Venezuela, and had to completely start a new life.”
The people of Venezuela are currently very active in having their voices be heard to bring change to the country’s political system.
Everyday there are protests and riots being held in hopes of getting justice. These protests have become extremely dangerous over the years due to the police driven violence.
Amanda Gauthier, 18, a student at Seminole State College and a native Venezuelan, has been living in Florida for almost two years.
Amanda Gauthier, 18, and her entire family have experienced this firsthand. She is a student at SSC and a native Venezuelan.
In 2017 her family participated in a protest to have their voices and opinions be heard, and possibly make a difference.
“I believe you have to go through in order to understand it,” Gauthier said.