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Why I Left Venezuela. This Is My Story | Part I

Slow Motion | Political Transformation 

Military coup


This is what and how I remember...


I was getting ready to go to class in high school. It was at about 5 a.m. It was still dark. The sound of the cars in front of my bedroom on the seventh floor of the building was distant. The birds were still asleep. Channel 7 -national signal- broadcasted the morning talk show. At 6 a.m. the National Anthem.

I, still lazy, came out of the bathroom to dress in the regular school uniform: beige shirt, blue jeans and brown shoes, my favorites. My cat, Tiger, yawned and stretched its claws on my bed. From the kitchen came the typical smell of that hour, black coffee strained into rag mixed with roasted arepa.

From behind the silence, I could feel something sinister. So among the darkness that flooded the street and the smell of fresh food, a sudden and thunderous sound was heard. Everything else was overshadowed. The television was  muted. All I could hear was the "noise."  An ominous noise.

Quickly, and leaving everything behind, I peeked out of a window. Curiosity drowned me, what produced such a shuddering and hellish noise? My brother ran too. My mom dropped her cup of coffee and, with her cooking paddle in her hand, she left her kitchen to join the snooper. What a surprise! Three military tank tanks loaded with military and war munitions were roasting in front of our building at full speed. They were heading north of the city on the main avenue of my beloved hometown.

All three of us looked at each other. Scared, we prayed to television for answers. The image we saw I'll never forget. A military tank was climbing the stairs of the Presidential House. The reporters were describing what we were seeing, but they were as confused as we were. In the kitchen, my mom also turned on the radio,  but bewilderment reigned.  Disinformation invaded the media. However, I thought the worst: this should be a military coup against the President.

Meanwhile, my brother and I only knew one thing: we did not have to go to the school that day.

As the hours passed, the television images were becoming rawer: injured people and many people, men and women fleeing shootings. The planes, some crashed, and others were flying over the most important cities: Maracay, Maracaibo, and Valencia. The tankers were running the streets. Some military bases and the national public channel, VTV were taken.  Many of its employees were vilely injured and a few killed.

The day went by. The number of wounded people wasas well as the deaths. We, meanwhile, knew nothing for sure. At that moment we could not imagine that with that terrible coup, 41 consecutive years of established democracy after so many bloody and cruel dictatorships, were about to die opening the door to the most catastrophic contemporary history of Venezuela.  

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