Lehigh Valley

Venezuela protest involves local residents

Venezuela protest involves local residents

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - Civil unrest has been plaguing the streets of Venezuela these past few weeks and now Venezuelans in our region are making their voices heard.

Dozens of anti-government marches took place around the world this past weekend including in Philadelphia.

Emmaus resident Marielsa Sanchez, who attended the march, says it's all to stand in solidarity with those who are fighting the real fight on the streets of cities like Caracas.

"My biggest worry is that it's now or never," she said.

Opposition leaders have not been afraid to share their disapproval of the government, especially since President Nicolas Maduro took office in April of last year.

However after a student was killed in what many say was a peaceful protest earlier this month, Venezuelans like Sanchez say they've reached their boiling point.

"We want freedom of expression, we want to be safe, we want to feel safe in Venezuela...even though I'm not in Venezuela I suffer knowing that my family is living in a jail," she said.

Bethlehem resident, Omar Delgado says he left the country two years ago because he saw no future and is frustrated over what his family back home is going through.

"My mom is there and she has to stand in line to get flour or toilet paper or chicken. Sometimes she can't get it," he said.

Sanchez adds she's worried of what would happen if the situation is unchanged, "My main concern is that if we don't have a change, we're going to end up like Cuba with a dictator in power and we don't want that, we want a democracy," she said.

Delgado says it no longer matters whether or not someone supported former President Hugo Chavez in the past because according to many Venezuelans, "Maduro is not Chavez," he said.

"I think that the people that supported Chavez are afraid of speaking up and realizing that their needs are the same as the other needs that every person out there is fighting for," said Delgado.

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