“We are Trapped” – Have Students in Venezuela Given up Hope?

A year ago, on March 31st of 2017, a group of students of the Central University of Venezuela (UCV, in Spanish) initiated what turned out to be one of the biggest and also the bloodiest protests in the history of Venezuela. More than a hundred days of continuous protests in the streets of Caracas and in the rest of the country. Days went by and the protesters got tired, scared, and finally stop protesting. Is the student movement in Venezuela dead?

Is the Student Movement in Venezuela Dead? We asked Students about their Future.

Now, a year later, everything that those students, those young men and women, had fought for remains the same. The same as when they started their fight on the streets, risking their lives. It even seems to be worse.

These university students are the youth of this country, they are the engine and they are the future generation that will be in charge of whatever happens. They are the ones that will write the country’s fate. Only that, now, this generation of students that used to be strong and rebellious have lost almost all of their hope for their and their country’s future.

Now, in 2018, according to the same students that went out to the streets to fight against the dictatorial government of Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela’s future and even their own has become an absolute black hole of uncertainty. We asked a few students of the best universities of the capital city (UCV, the Metropolitan University, the Catholic University, etc.) and they all agreed on one thing: uncertainty.

“What are your thoughts about your country’s future?” – “Is there a future for this?”

It’s not only uncertainty because of misinformation or indifference, it’s uncertainty based on hopelessness. These young people are aware of their unstable situation, being unable to get the life quality that their parents once had when they were their age. One of the students, when asked about Venezuela’s future, even used the word “trapped“. She said that Venezuelans are trapped in this black hole and talked, with tears in her eyes, about how weak people have become because of the evil that has risen in the government. How all of the strength they used to have to fight and persevere has been drained due to the hunger, crime, and poverty that surrounds them.

Based on these interviews, it’s clear for the students that the possibilities to work and live properly in Venezuela get fewer and fewer every day, which makes emigration almost the only choice for surviving. Emigration has gone from being a privilege for those who were wealthier and had job opportunities outside Venezuela, to be basically the only way most students vision their future life. People of all ages are doing everything they can, selling all of their belongings to migrate towards a better life, willing to do any kind of job for a low payment but with the promise of a stable life.

Unfortunately, we’re going back to the word “trapped“. Day after day, there are more restrictions placed over the emigration process, making it even harder for Venezuelans to leave their country. And let’s not forget the insanely high prices of airplane tickets that are completely unaffordable for regular citizens and their short-lived minimum wage. So, yes, as the girl we talked to said: most Venezuelans are trapped.

“How do you think the future’s going to be?”

“It’s totally uncertain. Every day it’s harder and harder to live and at this point, we don’t know if something will ever change that. We’re just worse every single day. We can’t make any long-term plans. We’re just living the moment as we can.”

In conclusion, a “student movement” does not exist, it does not “move”; it’s almost completely hopeless and destroyed looking towards their future. The ones who are financially able to leave, leave. The ones who aren’t, they try to survive in a political, economic, and social crisis that drowns them and takes away all of their persistence to fight for a better future.

Every word in this article is a mirror of the thoughts most of the students have. However, history tells us that there’s no evil that lasts a thousand years and, as incredible as it sounds, after eighteen years of the same socialist government, there are still a few groups of people who don’t have the word “migration” in their plans. Even though Venezuelans are tired, there is still their faith and partnership with each other that help them cope one day at a time. Surviving “the XXI century socialism” is already a plus.

About Mahuampy Ruiz

Mahuampy Ruiz lives in Venezuela and juggles her life between being a theatre actress and producer, and a psychology student at the Central University of Venezuela, one of the first universities in the country. She's always been drawn to dramatic arts, literature, languages, and philosophy. She enjoys reading articles that encourage critical thinking by choosing polemic topics for debate, which she also enjoys writing.

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