Opinion

Venezuelan future unclear, fear rises

Recently, a fellow classmate not-so-kindly reminded me that my Venezuelan experience differs from that of recently arrived Venezuelans.
Venezuela has been under the rule of Hugo Chavez since 1999. Chavez became a dictator who changed the Venezuelan constitution for his own personal gain, severely upset relations with the U.S. and nationalized much of the state’s important industries. Chavez died March 5, and the world began to speculate what would come next.
I have lived Chavismo from abroad. I was born in Venezuela. My mother and I emigrated to the United States 21 years ago. My father, one of my sisters, my brother, my aunts and uncles, my cousins and friends all remain in Venezuela.
My experience with the Chavez regime has been lived through weekly Skype calls, daily email exchanges and an almost fanatical perusing of the news. Each time my cell phone rings with a 001 exchange, my stomach turns at the intense fear that someone close to me has been a victim to the violence. The fear is very real.
In the last 15 years, my family and friends have succumbed to the effects of a failing infrastructure. My father’s best friend was brutally murdered just blocks from our home. Last fall, my sister was mugged at gunpoint.
A piece of my heart lives in Venezuela. To be called an outsider by my classmate ignores the reality lived each day in my household. Venezuela’s future is unclear. Chavez left a successor, and his ideas have a strong following. The opposition is loosely organized and lacks a strong leader. My biggest fear is that the situation in Venezuela will escalate before Venezuelans see real change.
Now, the real work begins. I look forward to the return of democracy, while it may not be overnight.
I can only hope that one day Venezuela will have the same allure as the U.S. does, welcoming immigrants from around the globe who wish to pursue their dreams.
One can hope, right?

Stephanie Pavolini is a graduate student majoring in international administration.

March 24, 2013

Reporters

Stephanie Pavolini


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Miami Hurricanes fans might recall their favorite college football players in past years dreaming of ...

The new quarterback is usually the ones fans gush over. For the University of Miami, last season it ...

Debate all you want, but University of Miami football coach Mark Richt made it clearer than ever Wed ...

Last year, when University of Miami tailback Mark Walton attended the Atlantic Coast Conference Foot ...

The Miami Hurricanes will have plenty of talent on both sides of the ball this season, and four play ...

Following the summit between Trump and Putin, reaction from politicians, pundits and former intellig ...

A School of Communication associate professor played an important hand—an artistic one!—in World Cup ...

University of Miami law and political science professors weigh in on Trump’s SCOTUS nominee. ...

Research bioclimatologists with the UM Synoptic Climatology Lab counsel cities on how to manage risi ...

A UM-led study is examining how children’s play behavior at beaches could impact their health. ...

University of Miami junior running back Travis Homer was named a preseason candidate for the Doak Wa ...

Six former Canes competed on NBA Summer League teams, with three averaging at least 10 points per ga ...

Quick Hits gives University of Miami volleyball fans an opportunity to get to know the new student-a ...

The University of Miami's volleyball team earned the American Volleyball Coaches Association (A ...

University of Miami head golf coach Patti Rizzo announced the 2018-19 schedule, featuring nine tourn ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.