Eduardo Garcia spent most of his youth in Venezuela, and it breaks his heart to see how it’s being torn apart, its people killed. Even worse, why is the world ignoring it?
This has to be the most emotionally charged word any Latin-American man can say. What is Patria? Patria is that mother who gave birth to you and was willing to give her life for you as a child. Patria is the beautiful girl you woo as you grow into a young man, seeing her so beautiful that you find yourself thinking you are unworthy of her love. Patria is that wife you provide with a home worthy of her. Patria is the daughter you must protect from all those less than honorable men who plan to take advantage of her. For her, you are a good man, you are willing to fight for her and, if necessary, die for her.
Although I was born on U.S. soil, I spent most of my youth in Venezuela. For me, the land of Bolivar is my second Patria. So its recent descent into chaos, I am not ashamed to say, brings tears to my eyes. What hurts even more is how it is almost completely ignored by the world media. As the events in Kiev make front page news, plastered on every news outlet, the Venezuelan revolts are relegated to a quarter page photo with a 3 line side note.
As of now, we have no idea how many people have been arrested in what started as a student protest against the current government. Armed with banners, protest signs, the occasional rock they might pick up, and, most importantly, an undying love for an idealistic dedication to a better country for them and their children, the students and protesters were confronted with the paramilitary forces of the government.
Even the leader of the protestors, Leopoldo López, gave himself up peacefully to try and avoid further deaths. The government’s reaction shortly after that was a complete shutdown of local and international telecommunications so the bad would not leak out to the rest of the world. What has been able to lip past the censors tells of protestors being shot, students being rounded up and tortured, and a martial law where soldiers hunt down anyone found walking down the street at night.
And it is reduced to a 2×2 picture with a 3 line side note or a page 3 article in the Latino section of the media outlet. REALLY!?
We covered the Riots in Egypt, 6,816 miles away. We covered the collapse of Greece, 5,852.95 miles away. We covered the events in Syria, 6,688 miles away. We are still covering the events in Ukraine, 5,697 miles away. Yet we refuse to cover events 2,804 miles away, events in a country just south of us.
And that is where the concept of Patria comes in. As frustrated as I might be with what is going on, what truly angers me is how this is ignored by the mass Media. I feel the same indignation as when someone insults the woman I love, as if she is not good enough. Is Venezuela not good enough for international attention?
Till the rest of the world decides to pay attention to what is going on, all I can do is what the Venezuelan people have asked us to do in there last few post in Twitter.
–Photo: AP / Diario Notetarde and Mauricio Centeno