LATINO VOICES
07/19/2017 02:43 pm ET

Venezuelans In The U.S. Describe The Struggles Their Countrymen Are Facing

“Whenever I think, ‘this could be me,’ it definitely puts everything else in perspective."

Venezuela’s ongoing economic and political crises reach far beyond the country’s borders. 

Venezuelans hit 100 days of consecutive protest on July 9, calling for President Nicolás Maduro to step down as the country’s crisis worsens. Mic posted a video Monday that highlighted how Venezuelans in the United States are impacted by the disastrous situation in the country. 

“It has actually been escalating and happening for over 10 years,” Araguaney, a Venezuelan woman living Oakland, California, told Mic. “It has jeopardized our capacity to see each other and communicate with each other.” 

Official numbers show that the inflation rate for 2016 hit 274 percent, destroying the country’s currency and driving citizens into extreme poverty.

“These people don’t have toothpaste, they don’t have tampons,” Amer in Chicago told Mic. “They don’t have basic goods and necessities that we take for granted in America.”  

Reports showed that the economic problems hit hospitals, where lack of supplies have left many of the ill without hope of recovery. In 2016, asylum applications from Venezuela to the U.S. surged 168 percent, according to Pew Research Center. 

Anti-government protests have injured over 1,500 people in Venezuela and left nearly 100 dead.

“These students, who are currently fighting hand-to-hand with the police and the military, are my age,” Daniel in Los Angeles told Mic. 

“Whenever I think, ‘this could be me,’ it definitely puts everything else in perspective,” he added. 

On Sunday, more than 7 million Venezuelans, domestically and abroad, voted in a symbolic referendum. An overwhelming majority voted to reject Maduro’s attempt to change the constitution though the referendum has not been sanctioned by Maduro’s administration. 

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