Fight or flee? Fight or flight

Fight or flee? Fight or flight

The thousands of young people, women, and retirees, dressed in tee-shirts, red, blue, and yellow hats, or wrapped in the tricolor Venezuelan Flag, demonstrated, holding signs that said “Don’t Shoot!” and shouting If se puede si se se puede and “Our weapon is our constitution!” Venezuela! What do we want?” Freedom!”

The daily democratic exercises that began in April have killed at least 79 people, including security forces and passersby. , a 17-year-old protester was shot in mid-June. , a 25-year-old man was killed on July 4 in Tariba.

Venezuelans who were born during the democratic, prosperous 1980s have now awoken. Venezuelans born in the 1980s, when living conditions were prosperous and democratic, are now very much awake.

Venezuela faces international criticism over its crackdown on protesters. Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

Chavismo – the bitter end

Since Maduro’s election in 2013, the country has become a testing ground for bad policy.

After the collapse of ” Socialism of the 21st Century“, Hugo Chavez’ 15-year-old political, economic, and social system, the current government has shown itself to be inept at managing the economy but skilled at polarising the society, exacerbating violent, and truncating its people’s dreams.

Thousands of Venezuelans have fled the country in search of a better future. Venezuela does not publish emigration statistics, but it is estimated that 700,000 to two million Venezuelans emigrated between 1999 and now. The majority of Venezuela’s population, 31 million people, remain in the country either because they chose to or out of necessity.

They are now fighting for the future of their country, marching each day, even though they know that this government is using excessive force to suppress dissent.

Many young professionals are working every day to provide for their families and prepare for the “packed Transition,” which many believe will be the best way to end the current chaos.

Venezuelan youth aspirations

In 2016, I was thinking about emigration when I interviewed 360 students in nine different university departments, ranging from medicine to engineering, who were graduating from the Central University of Venezuela in 2017-2018.

This anonymous survey was distributed on social media by professors and asked young Venezuelans questions about their personal well-being, plans for after college, and whether they planned to emigrate.

Of those surveyed, 62% are women, 72% are under 24 years old, 92% are single, and 83% live with their families.

The journal La Revista Educacion Superior y Sociedad published the final report on the Individual Aspirations of Students at Venezuela’s Central University and their International Migration Options in February 2018.

My results show that 65% of students do not live the life they would like to; they don’t believe their circumstances are good and are not happy with their current situation.

Unexpectedly, for people this old, 100% of respondents said that they have a plan and a goal in mind. If they can’t achieve their goals, 90% of respondents said they will leave Venezuela. The vast majority are leaving Venezuela to escape its terrible psychosocial climate and political polarization.

A 23-year-old male law student who is scheduled to graduate by 2018 said, “One can’t survive without hope…going without food, with a miserable wage, while the money that we should receive goes to other countries, leaving us without protection.”

A 22-year-old female science student, also from the class of 2018, said, “The crime and economic limitations affect me considerably…living like this does not fulfil my expectations.”

A protester passes graffiti that reads: ‘Maduro is the murderer of Students.’ Christian Veron/Reuters

Saving the future

The results of this survey are vastly different from those obtained just a few short years ago. In 2013, when the Ministry of Youth conducted its annual survey of youth, only 23 % of them wanted to leave Venezuela.

No new results have appeared since 2013. It is only logical to assume that the government has either not conducted this survey since 2013 or that results (unfavorable) have not been published.

In 2014, The Institute for Economic and Social Research of the Andres Bello Catholic University examined the participation of Venezuelan youth. Researchers found that 27% had at one time considered emigrating, mostly to improve their financial situation or pursue their studies.

Today, my survey and the (admittedly impossible-to-confirm) figures on Venezuelan immigration and asylum-seekers indicate that the majority of young people now want to leave the country.

Why are there so many still around?

Many of those who have stayed in their country are fighting for its future. The people who are constantly being attacked with rubber bullets, tear gas, and other forms of violence march for those who left, the true believers who were disillusioned by this political project, the poor, the hungry, and the victims of fraud.

According to Moises Naim, a prominent Venezuelan writer who wrote on El Pais on May 13, “The list is long of Chavez’s failures, and Venezuelans are aware of it. 90% of Venezuelans reject Maduro.”

There are also practical limitations to moving. Some people who want to move abroad do not have the money or the place to move.

My research showed that Venezuelan youth are considering leaving the country because the opportunities for them to live, work, and realize their dreams have been reduced. They believe that their chances of having a fulfilling and happy life are greater abroad.

The average Venezuelan in the United States has 11 school years. This is two years more than the Venezuelan average living in rural areas. Maybe young people in Venezuela know that their level of education will not guarantee them success abroad.

According to Carlos Jesus Rivas Perez, a columnist who wrote a controversial article in June 2016, “For those wanting to leave Venezuela – just leave!” You’re leaving Venezuela without a degree.

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