Texas Tech students from Venezuela discuss political crisis

Texas Tech students from Venezuela discuss political crisis

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

The on-going political crisis happening in Venezuela continues to take a toll on civilians.

Even here in Lubbock, international students at Texas Tech are seeing the impact. Elio Lugo recalled when it all began. In 2013, He said President Nicolas Maduro's regime arrested a popular activist.

"So, since then we can't really consider the regime today as a government, we have to consider it as a dictatorship," he said. "And that's what the Venezuelans are fighting with. Fighting for their freedom, fighting through hope. And it's just a terrible battle."

However, it's about more than drawing political lines. Political Science major and graduate student Pablo Hernandez said for Americans to understand the protests, they have to look beyond it. 

"It's not about left or right, Republican or Democrat, it's about human rights. It's about the people need to understand that we are suffering as a society," he said.

Many Venezuelans are struggling to find food and water, even medicine. 

"They don't have, like even, the medicines for their cancer treatment, for example. And they're dying because of that. And the government won't do anything in regards to that," Lugo said. "They didn't even let the humanitarian aid get into the country." 

Hernandez said more than 80 percent of Venezuelans want change. He added the riots and protests against Maduro have been years in the making.
 
"The hopes of those people that left and the hopes in Venezuela is that theses uprisings will succeed. That's why we are calling for the military. They need to understand the guns of the republic, the arm of the republic are to defend the people and their wishes," Hernandez said.

While President Maduro continues to demonstrate his stronghold on the Venezuelan military, Lugo said he's staying positive. 

"Some people may be in favor of what they're doing, some won't. We're trying to get freedom and it's not easy. I believe that if the military supports these movements that it's trying to overthrow the dictatorship. I see good things going for Venezuela," he said.

While the Trump Administration is pondering military options in Venezuela, Maduro has shown no sign of arresting opposition leader and U.S. backed President Juan Guadio.

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