When your worst nightmares come to life, you have to decide if you’re going to allow them to tear you apart or if you’re going to take up your sword and conquer them.

Multiple threats, attacks, your people becoming slaves to a government that only cares about quenching its thirst for power – these are my nightmares.

I haven’t escaped them because they have gotten stronger.

Venezuela, mi patria, has endured an array of issues and stages of unrest over the past 16 years.

Normal day-to-day activities have been impossible to perform. People wait in line for several hours for basic products like toilet paper and milk. It’s even gone as far as to result in some stores forbidding customers to stand in line overnight.

Many things are overpriced. A box of 36 Trojan condoms costs about 4,760 bolivares or $755, according to Newsweek. The expensive price of this simple form of birth control has caused an outcry from people emphasizing the rise of teen pregnancies and HIV/AIDS in the population.

The Venezuelan government claims the reason for the severe recession is due to private businesses hoarding goods.

The arrest of supermarket Dia Dia’s CEO Manuel Morales last week is an example of this hoarding problem. Morales was charged with sabotage and destabilization of the economy. Morales denied all the claims, according to The New York Times.

In order to solve the economic crisis, Venezuela’s vice president for economic policy, Rodolfo Marco Torres, announced a new foreign exchange system called the Marginal Currency System, or Simadi, on Feb. 10. His policy is supposed to keep people from turning to the black market for foreign currency. Economists say the change could make matters worse, since it will devalue the bolivar.

While extreme economic unrest courses throughout the country, political powers are currently going haywire themselves.

In early February, socialist President Nicolas Maduro accused U.S. Vice President Joe Biden of scheming a conspiracy to overthrow him. Despite his lack of evidence, Maduro claims he heard murmurs of this alleged scheme during the Caribbean Energy Security Summit in late January, according to LatinPost.

On Feb. 13, The New York Times wrote about the government’s broadcast of allegedly  “[thwarting] a planned coup, this one involving a plot to blow up the presidential palace.” Venezuela’s own military and opposing politicians denied this claim.

But who do you believe? Who’s telling the truth? Are these announcements of coups and overthrows only a diversion from the whirlpool of turmoil that’s taking place?

In 2014, Venezuela had the worst economic performance in Latin America, according to Reuters, with a 64-68 percent inflation rate. At the same time, American Airlines reduced 80 percent of their flights to and from Venezuela due to the country’s massive debt to the airline.

These events caused great grief within my family, forcing me to make sacrifices, one of them being unable to see my family for 12 years because the government detests Americans.

For over a decade, I have had to spend holidays alone, trying desperately to remember the mountain air, the summer rains, the face of my grandmother as she made arroz con caraotas.

The feeling of complete worthlessness as you talk on the phone with your grandmother as she’s on her deathbed, telling her that she can go in peace, that you’ll see her soon.

It’s something that can never be erased from your mind.

I want people to know how Venezuela truly is, filled with natural wonder and people with a joy and power that can never be replicated.

However, people know Venezuela as a country divided by two dominant political parties: Chavismo and the Opposition. The current state of the economy is causing a gigantic outcry against the government, plunging down Maduro’s popularity by 22 percent, according to US News.

“El Dia de la Juventud” (Youth Day) took place on Feb. 12. Students and government opposers took to the streets to commemorate the one year anniversary of the tragic protests that took place in the early months of 2014. Last year’s protests resulted in nationwide mayhem, causing 43 deaths and hundreds of injuries and arrests.

Which means that the battle is far from over. All of those who have been oppressed, who are struggling to achieve their dreams with everything they have, are fighting for their voices to be heard.

This isn’t the end.

Aqui se respira lucha.

headshotKarla Casique is a freshman journalism major and can be reached at karlacasique@hotmail.com.

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