Eloisa Sardinha

Alexia Rodriguez 11-II

Eloisa Sardinha now part of the New Horizons family, born and raised in Venezuela, took a hard decision and left her home for better life in Dominican Republic. Her race started a student in in The Simon Bolivar University of Caracas, Venezuela, studying biology Miss Sardinha arrived in the Dominican Republic a year ago on September 20, 2017. She graduated from the school in 2009 and still did not have the intention. Fast forward mid-2011 2012 the socio/economic as well as political situation in Venezuela was becoming unbearable. “It went down so fast, so fast.” said Miss Sardinha to describe Venezuela’s situation. The reasons for her emigration was mostly the country’s situation, the difficulty getting food. One of the country’s problems was that one of the solutions of the government to fight inflation was to increase the minimum wage, and this did not fix at all what the true problem of inflation is. So every time they increased the minimum salary, the prices increased. Aside from being difficult to get, the items were also very expensive. Due to this Eloisa and family together considered emigration. The options included going to Portugal for a month and a half, evaluating the possibility of staying, looking for either education or employment. But given the language barrier, Portuguese, she was not convinced of staying there. She had to do a layover in Dominican Republic before returning to Venezuela, she decided to stay here. During this time she took it upon herself to send a résumé, Eloisa was able to get a job as a teacher at New Horizons, thanks to her English skills.

One of the things that most impressed her were the differences between the two countries, things like supermarket shelves. “In Venezuela you can see the full shelves but it is of the same product, there are all bottles of soda, ketchup, etc. Here there are varieties of products and brands. One of the government’s solutions for food shortages is to create a kind of monthly box, which is sold to families, containing a kilo of rice, oil, pasta and chicken. Also medicine here is obtainable, there’s also a difference in price.” Miss Sardinha commented that back in Venezuela previously  the medicines were very affordable but now the prices are very high. Fuel here is much more expensive than in Venezuela. Venezuela being a carrier of petroleum had the option to have gasoline at a cheaper price than others, and to increase the price a bit to the investing countries to create an income. Another problem, water and electricity. In a regular week the population had access to electricity 3 or 4 days. There is a schedule to receive water. For example Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, they’ll receive water for 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes at night,

All this was due to the mismanagement of the government, during the Chávez era, main precursor of Chavismo, he put a lot of trust on the prices of oil abroad, which were, during his time, at a record high 100 dollars a barrel, which was an incredible income for the government. This incentive was used to create housing projects, education and infrastructure. All relying on that money, but once oil prices declined in the international market his government did not have a plan b to go to. No other industry that could generate income for the government. Take for instance agriculture, Venezuela has a lot of fields for it, and even then they did not take advantage of it at all, this lead to a shortage of food because there was no money, no real means to plant their fields.

Given this situation there was a reaction on part of the general population, this did not lid to anything because of the lack of structure in the opposition parties.

After Chavez’ death, then Maduro came into power with the support of the military forces, who had given Chavez’ allegiance. The armies duty is to repeal a government when it is not fulfilling its constitutional functions, the problem was since Chavez was a military man, when he arrived in power had all the army in his favor, yet Maduro bought the army through regalia. Due to the overwhelming power concentrated in Maduro’s hands hope was diminishing in all circles in Venezuela.

Maduro sent the armed forces against the protesters. They threw tear gas bombs to burn clothes, not pellets, they used bullets. The tear gas bombs they threw were expired which made them a deadlier gas. They tanks they used swept protesters off the streets, literally.

Due to the lack of leadership in the opposition the protestors felt disillusioned, as they failed to see a change after their hard work.

The National Electoral Council (the institution in charge of monitoring all of the Venezuelan elections), was Chavista, loyal to the government. In a country were most of population are against Maduro, it was a surprise to see him get away with cheating. The massive number of opponents who voted did not give the government room to cheat. That unfortunately is something to which Venezuela is accustomed. But then the government decided to suspend the national assembly, which generated a great international impact and many governments declared themselves against it, Maduro created a parallel constitutional assembly composed of Chavistas, Maduro persecuted the winning opponents of the constitutional assembly, to the point that they were forced to exiled.

On the other hand Eloisa Sardinha has no desire to Venezuela unless its to visit her family. Her plans are to specialize in biological studies in Europe. Eloisa stares that if the economic and political situation improves she would consider returning to Venezuela and help rebuild the country, especially in the environmental affairs, “but unfortunately it is something that will not happen in the near future, although in recent weeks we have seen positive changes in the country’s situation.”

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