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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Students call for regime change in Venezuela at campus demonstration

Christian+Rodriguez%2C+Class+of+2018%2C+holds+up+a+sign+while+speaking+to+other+demonstration+attendees+on+Wednesday+afternoon.+The+event+was+hosted+by+the+Texas+A%26amp%3BM+Venezuelan+Student+Association+to+support+change+in+the+Venezuelan+regime
Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker

Christian Rodriguez, Class of 2018, holds up a sign while speaking to other demonstration attendees on Wednesday afternoon. The event was hosted by the Texas A&M Venezuelan Student Association to support change in the Venezuelan regime

Expressing support for regime change in the Venezuelan government, the Venezuelan Student Association hosted a “call for democracy” demonstration in Rudder Plaza Wednesday evening.
Jan. 23 or “23 de enero” is remembered in Venezuela as the day when dictator Marcos Perez Jimenez was overthrown after 10 years of military rule from 1948 to 1958. This year, the day may mark the start of another regime change in the South American nation.
In 2013, Nicolas Maduro was elected president by a small margin after the death of Hugo Chavez, who had held the office since 1999. During Maduro’s regime, there has been turmoil throughout the country from inflation, corruption and violence.
On Jan. 10, Maduro was inaugurated for his second six-year term, though the election was widely labeled fraudulent by the international community. On Wednesday, opposition leader and head of Venezuela’s National Assembly Juan Guaidó — who has called Maduro a usurper — declared himself acting president. Now officially recognized by U.S. President Donald Trump and leaders from more than 10 Latin American nations, Guaidó has promised to institute a transitional government focused on humanitarian aid and free elections.
Venancio Mendez, civil engineer junior and president of the Venezuelan Student Association, said they hope the military authorities of both Venezuela and other international communities will stand at the side of democracy and recognize Guaidó as the nation’s president.
“Maduro was elected through a fraudulent process. More than 70 countries rejected that process and they stand against the dictatorship in Venezuela and they support any transitional democracy that is going happen in Venezuela,” Mendez said. “We are getting together and trying to support from College Station, Texas. We are here standing for democracy in Venezuela.”
Blinn student Sabrina Socorro came to the United States in search of better healthcare, however, she said there is much more that Venezuelans need. Socorro said the average monthly income for adults there is around $2 and one dozen eggs cost $90, making it nearly impossible for middle and lower class citizens to survive.
“Basically for 20 years we have been trying to fight against the dictatorship,” Socorro said. “All the Venezuelans right now are really struggling so much. They don’t have any food, any healthcare. Basically I came here because I didn’t have healthcare and I needed it. I was diagnosed with cancer three years ago. I had to come here.”
Luis Chapellin, agricultural business master’s student and vice president of the Venezuelan Student Association, said they are standing together with fellow Venezuelans, family and friends to support the transition to a democracy led by Guaidó.
“I have been back home and I have seen how these kinds of activities support or give people hope, and this way we try to help Venezuelans know they are not alone — that there a bunch of people outside, here, studying, preparing themselves and wanting to go back home,” Chapellin said.

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  • Venezuelan demonstration

    Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker
  • Protest coordinators gave students the opportunity to leave messages of support at Wednesday’s gathering.

    Photo by Photo by Çassie Stricker
  • Venezuelan demonstration

    Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker
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