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

Photo Gallery: UM v. Virginia Tech | Saturday, November 17, 2018 … Click to Continue » ...

The Miami Hurricanes found new life Saturday — despite so much seemingly going wrong. Big plays on o ...

At least in terms of their bowl situation, the Miami Hurricanes can take a deep, collective breath. ...

Thoughts, notes, reaction and postscripts after UM’s 38-14 win on Saturday at Virginia Tech, making ...

There wasn’t much energy in the Watsco Center stands on Saturday afternoon as most University of Mia ...

UM Libraries is presenting an extraordinary exhibit that immerses the audience in an emotional journ ...

A UM researcher is helping to lead a study on how smoke interacts with clouds and its impact on the ...

People are bombarded with news and information these days, providing opportunities for discourse tha ...

Students, faculty and staff stopped by the School of Architecture’s Korach Gallery to learn what Mag ...

The On Campus event featured innovative National Geographic Explorers—photographers, scientists, sto ...

The Canes got back to their winning ways with an impressive 38-14 victory at Virginia Tech. ...

20-point performances from Chris Lykes and DJ Vasiljevic led Miami past Bethune-Cookman. ...

Seniors Kolby Bird and Haley Templeton will play in their final match at the James L. Knight Sports ...

The No. 24 Miami women's basketball team is headed to Iowa State for the Preseason WNIT champio ...

The Canes hit the road for the final time in the 2018 regular season and it is to a familiar and hos ...

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.