Why I Left Venezuela. This Is My Story | Part IV
I became a journalist following my paternal family path. In my family, there have been journalists, writers, photographers, and broadcasters for over more than four generations. My father used to tell me, "write, write whatever comes to your mind". I have worked for television, radio, digital and print media.
For several years, I was a correspondent journalist for El Pitazo and Instituto Prensa y Sociedad (IPYS). I had various radio & TV shows. The most recent one "Un cafe por la manana" had the special participation of my father broadcasting from New York to La Romantica 88.7FM.
2014 - 2016 Being a Journalist in Venezuela
While working for El Pitazo different things happened to me and many of my colleagues all over the country. We had to deal with the most incredible situations like the slowness of the government authorities to provide mandatory certifications to report certain events like the elections; military and/or police intimidation; limitations or denials to enter polling sites, public places, or the administration offices. We had to wear anti-gas masks and in Caracas, bulletproof vests and hard hats while reporting demonstrations.
In our day by day work, we had to overcome the lack of first-hand testimonies to support our work; struggles to access public information; trouble to interview public officials/employees or just hassle to talk with them. With the awkwardness of public intimidations, constant personal persecutions and threats by phone, while working, or even in your house... Suddenly journalism became one of the most dangerous jobs in Venezuela.
Forced to Leave
Among the tumult, shouts caught my attention. I walked away from the group and began to videotape what was happening. They were women. Women beat each other with their clenched fists, with wallets and motorcycle helmets. Insults are heard. He felt hate. They were all daughters of the same country divided by socialism. Identified with my vest, I recorded dumbfounded.
A hit. I felt a strong blow to the upper part of my back, at the base of my neck. I fell I fell sharply with my left leg bent as in forced genuflection. More blows to my back, now kicks. In front, a woman struggled furiously to take my work team. I was screaming on the floor trying to get up but on my back the blows continued. My team fell to the ground. I managed to get it back before my contender. My hair was in the hands of those who beat me from behind ... I ran ... Hui ... I screamed, cried and ran ... I left the crowd. They beat me, they beat me ...
And with this they concretized the first telephone threat that I received: "We will hit you if you continue to invite the activities of our president's adversaries." Four threats Four facts: 1. The warning call. 2. The broken glass of my car and the theft of my equipment. 3. The blows that I remember daily because of the pain I suffer in my left leg due to the injuries caused in three of my vertebrae when they fell loudly to the ground. 4. Death threat in my own house.
You may ask, what was I doing there? As you can imagine, I am now a journalist. Given the destruction of the country's productive sector and exchange control, medicines and food began to decrease. For six months I visited the most important hospital in my city.
The complaints about lack of water motivated the start of my weekly meetings with patients, doctors, nurses and other staff of the care center. The problem was accelerated with the shortage of medicines and medical supplies of all kinds. The surgeries were suspended daily for lack of equipment or for unusual reasons. I, of course, was not welcome. The director of the place did not give me information and when he did, he was quickly contradicted by facts and testimonies ...I had to overbear phone threats, damage done to my car, stolen job-related equipment from my car and while working, verbal and tweet insults, a very hard and strong physical beating while reporting for El Pitazo, and finally, while I was in New York, there was a direct threat to my children in my own home. At that moment I knew I had to leave Venezuela without any doubts in my heart.
The Busted Bra
Why the US? Round Trip Ticket But No Way Back
When I left my house in Merida that early morning, I thought I was going back. I had a round trip ticket on my behalf. I kissed my husband and kids goodbye and left my personal belongings as if I was returning.
I came to the United States because my father is a US citizen and he was having surgery. I came to take care of him. And the timing was perfect. I saw it as an opportunity to fly away, at least for a few months, from the stress and fears I was living at the moment. On the lines below you will understand what I was going through.
Our First Months in the US
I am not a US citizen as yu might think, but I thought it was going to be easier to start all over again with a little help. And who could be better to rise you up than your own father? The truth is that it has been easier but not easy. My husband and sons came four months after me. Meanwhile, I was thinking it over. I did not want to stay illegally. I talked to people who shared their migratory stories with me. I talked to immigration experts and lawyers. Until one of those lawyers heard my story in detail, read the newspaper reports and the police complain we had filled. She told me that I had a positive case to apply for asylum. Immediately my family prepared everything to fly. It was not easy for them to leave their family, friends, home, and pets.
We have worked as dishwashers, waiters, and waitresses, slicing ham and cheese on a deli, cleaning offices, taking out the trash from a 60-floor building. We have done the most unbelievable jobs we could ever imagine in our past life back in Venezuela.