Students stand with Venezuela
Catherine Owers | Tuesday, February 25, 2014
On Monday students gathered in the Dooley Room of LaFortune Student Center to raise awareness about the ongoing Venezuelan protests against President Maduro that have become increasingly violent over the past weeks.
Venezuelan university students began protests against the government on Feb. 12, said sophomore and organizer of the event Daniela Nunez.
“Feb. 12 was a national youth day, and college students started protesting against the oppressive government [that has been in place] for 15 years,” she said. “Since then, some have been wounded and some have died.”
Students were able to take pictures with posters saying “I care Venezuela” and “I am your voice, Venezuela,” as well as with the Venezuelan flag, Nunez said.
“We’re going to post these pictures and create a video that can be shared, to show that, even in South Bend, we care,” she said. “There have also been campaigns by Venezuelans in other cities that are using the hashtags ‘SOS Venezuela’ and ‘Pray for Venezuela’ because, even if you can’t do much, you can still pray.”
Nunez said students joined with the Notre Dame Peace Fellowship on Friday to say a rosary for Venezuela.
“It was student-led and it went well,” she said. “We started standing in front of Stonehenge and processed to the Grotto to finish the last decade [of the rosary].”
Nunez said she and other students are motivated to inform Notre Dame students about the crisis because the media censorship in Venezuela makes it more difficult for the protestors’ message to reach outside audiences.
“Much of the media in Venezuela is controlled by the state, and most of the information is coming from social media like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram,” she said. “We want to raise awareness and point eyes towards the situation in Venezuela. There’s no respect for human rights by the military and police force.”
Nunez said she has family in Venezuela, and feels strongly about supporting Venezuelans.
“I grew up with a strong sense of Venezuelan culture,” she said. “I am American, but I am also Venezuelan.”
Junior Diana Gutierrez said she attended the event because she believes it is important for students to understand the unrest in Venezuela.
“They are doing their best to create a better country, and the student movement has mostly been nonviolent,” she said.
Freshman Jessica Pedroza said she believes it is important to show support for students participating in the movement.
“As students, we have a social obligation to support students fighting for justice,” she said. “My heart goes out to all who are suffering and all whose voices are being silenced.”