The above photos were taken in Georgetown near the Venezuelan Embassy. I actually walked down this street on Sunday by accident as I was lost. Definitely an interesting win for me on many levels. I had just finished working in Venezuela for the past two years and seeing the Venezuelan flag on a car in DC was a bit of a surprise. There were several dozen voters in line to vote and a voting stand was set up a little bit away from the Embassy. The picture of the girl is my favorite. She was so full of country pride that I stopped her and had to ask if I could take her photo. I love people who have a pride of country and this girl seemed to have an abundance of it.
I have said this before and I want to say it one more time. My life is good. I have had amazing opportunities presented to me. On a bit of a whim, I spent three years teaching English in Korea and both of my daughters had an opportunity to live over there with me during my 3 year stay. During that time I was able to travel to China, Thailand and Cambodia. I was able to witness an insane and fun voting process in South Korea that involved street dancing and shouting out platforms to the beat of a live band. Amazing time yes!
Vacationing in countries is so very different than spending extended times working in those same countries. You can experience the culture and the people in a much more intimate way and you can find things (just like you can in your country of birth) that you really love and really hate. More than all of that, you can grow as a person and understand that people in other countries are really no different than you are in your own. Issues of poverty, governmental control, health and money all come to present themselves in ways that become very familiar and very personal. You become drawn into the voting process and realize that even though this is not your country you have a stake in the results.
I just finished a two year assignment in Venezuela. Venezuela is a country full of life and strife. There is an abundance of natural resources and beautiful locations that would make it a tourist’s haven. Sadly there is also an abundance of poverty and crime that make it nearly impossible to support a safe and healthy environment for tourism.
After two years of listening to many Venezuelans about their dreams and aspirations for their country, most everyone found the election results in October a bit devastating. For the people of Venezuela and the country as a whole, a second chance for change was presented. Yesterday came and went and sadly after this grand opportunity there have been accusations of fraud, misconduct and intimidation at the polling stations. There are now demonstrators who are resorting to violence and at this time it’s very difficult to decide what is going to be the final outcome. As of last night, people had taken to the streets in full Venezuelan color with their pots and pans and anything else that made sound to raise their voices and express their discontent.
My hope right now is that peace will be maintained and a final appropriate ending will fall into place and true change can take place in this amazing country. I wish the people of Venezuela well.