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What Venezuelan expats think about the country's political crisis

“This is not about left-wing politics versus right-wing politics. This is not about capitalism versus socialism or Trump versus Maduro."

by Victoria Leandra
Mar 5 2019, 4:56pm

More than 3.4 million people have fled Venezuela since 2014. Those who remain grapple with food and medicine shortages as President Nicolás Maduro refuses to give up his authoritarian regime and let humanitarian aid into the country.

In January, Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaidó challenged Maduro and declared himself interim president, as Venezuela's constitution allows the head of the legislature to do. Once unknown, the 35-year-old has now gained the support of many Venezuelans and 65 foreign countries, including the U.S., Canada and U.K. He returned to Venezuela Monday after a trip abroad to rally support from the international community.

Venezuelan expats, however, appear split on how Guaidó should use his role as interim president — and whether he should support U.S. involvement in the conflict.

“What is happening in Venezuela is affecting all the region,” Alejandra Escobar, 38, said. ”The U.S. needs to take a leading role in this, not just because it’s the strategic thing to do but because it’s a moral issue.”

Others, like Santiago Silva, 29, are wary of foreign powers getting too deeply involved in Venezuela’s politics.

“We wouldn't want to become another colony of the United States,” Silva said.

While many expats debate the possibility of foreign involvement in Venezuela’s humanitarian crisis, the majority seem to agree the situation is too important for partisanship.

“This is not about left-wing politics versus right-wing politics. This is not about capitalism versus socialism or Trump versus Maduro,” Valeria Hidalgo, 31, said. “It's about basic human rights.”

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