Why I Left Venezuela. This Is My Story | Introduction
Questions and Answers to Myself. A reflection on How I Decided to Leave my Country, Venezuela
As many of you may know, I was born and raised in Venezuela. In 2016 I had to take one of the hardest and most important decisions of my life. One that would change not only my life but my family's life: to leave Venezuela. You may ask why I left Venezuela? And here is my answer: not because of the social-economic crisis, not because of the lack of medicine or food, not because of socialism or politics, not because of the personal insecurity. It was because I was no longer welcomed in my country.
I grew up in one of the most progressed countries in South America. Due to its location in the North of the South and to the fast development of the oil industry, Venezuela became a very important country in the region. It had public schools all over the nation, so basically everybody had access to free education. The best universities were also free: Universidad Central de Venezuela, Universidad del Zulia, Universidad de Los Andes just to mention a few of them. Its roads connected the states and cities throughout the territory. Our farms produced vegetables, fruits, meat, chickens, eggs... The agriculture production was enough to feed all the nationals and even more. We exported coffee, cacao, among other important goods. Nobody wanted to live elsewhere.
My childhood was quite normal. My father was a professor at Universidad de Los Andes and a famous broadcaster at Radio Cumbre. My mom was a school teacher. We were a middle-class family of four members. My brother and I went to Catholic schools and had all we needed. Sometimes even more than others.
I will not lie and say that everything was perfect in my life or in Venezuela, but it was easy for a family to grow economically. Families could go on vacation without any regrets. Families could have three or more meals on a day. Families could buy clothes, shoes, and have nice Christmas celebrations, birthday or graduation parties. Anything was a good occasion to celebrate or gather around a nice BBQ or have a good dinner with guests...
You may be asking yourself - why is the above important? Well, because little by little all of this was taken away from us, not only from my family but from all Venezuelans. We did not realize it was happening until we had a hard time trying to do the most simple things.
The truth is that we never imagined what was going to happen with the arrival of the 21st Century. The whole planet was waiting for something big to happen as the end of the world or Jesus Christ coming back for the chosen ones. In fact, for Venezuelans, their world ended and the Devil took place.
The 80s were amazing years. At least to me. The 90s were becoming a little problematic and in the end, the late 90s became a nightmare. Of course not as much as the last five years from 2011 to 2016 that I lived in Venezuela. Everything I knew was becoming less and less what I was used to. Everything changed so much. Happiness became a stranger in my life and around my family. We were worried all the time...
Our worries were about everything, about the most simple things like what to eat; where to go grocery shopping or about having a meeting at 6 in the evening because it was dangerous to be out or not having electricity or tap water... We were worried about getting sick or the car breaking down.
The lack of food and medicine got to the point of not finding milk, eggs, coffee, rice, cornflour, meat, pasta,... Basic supplies for personal care like shampoo, soap, toothpaste, deodorant, shavers, shaving cream, toilet paper, paper napkins, were very difficult to find. As well as a common medicine for the flu, pain killers, antibiotics, vaccines for children, alcohol, cotton balls, among other things that just disappeared from the stores.