Local Venezuelans react to political turmoil back home


Local Venezuelan community members are calling for the removal of President Nicolas Maduro.

On Tuesday evening, protestors against Maduro took to the streets to call for a change.

“They want our freedom,” said Fresno resident, Mary Bastos. “They want food. They want basic needs.”

Bastos has two brothers in Venezuela. One’s a farmer. The other is a firefighter in the country’s capital of Caracas where there’s a single fire engine for the entire population of over 2 million people. Despite having jobs money is tight.

“They make 3 dollars a month,” Bastos said. “That’s insane because a pack of eggs costs like 10 dollars right now.”

Many in Venezuela are barely surviving. They’re eating food out of dumpsters. The nation’s water supply is erratic. Simple medicines are nowhere to be found. Power is out everywhere.

Aside from family, Bastos has friends in the country too.

“They are starving to death. They have a daughter and she’s been in the hospital three times for malnutrition,” Bastos explained.

Also gathered around the TV at Basto’s home was Jessica Poveamaciel who is getting updates from her family.

“Most of them are just hiding,” Poveamaciel said. “They’re inside their houses. They’re scared of going out and speaking up.” 

She says the National Guard truck that plowed into protestors on Tuesday deeply affected her. 

“It’s inhumane what is going on and we cry everyday,” Poveamaciel added.

At Maduro’s government headquarters crowds gathered in support of the current socialist government. It’s a different tune than most Venezuelans living in the United States. 

“We’re here to support Juan Guaido to support his cause to support that we want free Venezuela where we can have a true democracy,”  Poveamaciel concluded.

In the last three years, an estimated 3.3 million Venezuelans have fled their country.

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