Andrea´s coffee with skim milk (no sugar, please!) accompanies our Spiu Express with lemon zest and cappuccino while she qualifies as inevitable the popular uprisings that have been taking place across the country in recent weeks.Venezuela now has one of the highest insecurity rates in the world and an economy adrift with over 56% inflation according to official sources, which is reflected in the scarcity that already affects all sectors of society and the widespread social discontent that led, along with an attempted of rape at a University and the murder of ex-miss Venezuela Monica Spears, to the beginning of protests a month ago, thirty painful days with terrifying results: 23 dead, 1,304 arrested, 18 known cases of torture and thousands of injured. A coward Government reacts with weapons to citizen protests when they know that these are the only ones that can destroy the unfair situation of supreme force that they have got, and the consequences of Venezuelan government cowardice are as clear as the above figures.
Andrea goes from outrage to sadness when she explains how the Government wants the world to think that this is a protest of the upper middle class (or 'bourgeoisie' as they call it) when it has come upon the poor areas of the country. In these areas, the state uses the so-called 'collective' to intimidate any citizen willing to mobilize. "If you protest, I'll shoot you" they told a friend of mine at her door.
There is almost no coffee in this balm that shelters us from the excitement and the constant movement of Caracas, this vast city that now hides its charms under a cloak of injustice, guns and fear. For Andrea, Caracas captures life in its essence, it is the place to come when you want to feel the rhythm of the world. The same world that now can not enjoy the brightness of the colors of Caracas, the pure air of El Avila National Park, its tropical climate, the galleries of the Museum of Fine Arts or its good people, good to laugh, to mourn, to love, to feel... and to dream. Dreaming of being free to vote cleanly the future of their country without knowing in advance that everything is already decided, dreaming of protest with no real fear that Government forces could end their lifes, dreaming that constitutionally is not only that, a dream.
In the Hills of Monte Bello quietness begins to disappear. The first protest was just a month ago, and today a new student march is ready to leave from here to give back to their country its stolen rights. Andrea embraces us again and we try to give her all our energy for her to convey it to the people of Venezuela, all of them an example of struggle and resistance. But before leaving, Andrea asks the world collaboration helping us spread the truth which is that the country is not well and can not become better while it is under the yoke of incompetent, irresponsible but mostly stateless people who does not hurt them to see how Venezuela is broken while they have the power. Helping us to expose this Government that claims to be socialist but uses the poorest class and put it there to stay in power without caring if their voters live to see another day. Help us writing, sharing, protesting with us against silent Governments, complaining if you can, supporting us and making us feel that we are not alone, that we have you.
Illustration by Aaron Mora, Espresso Fiorentino's illustrator.