I left Venezuela eight years ago. In all this time, I have tried to explain what is happening in my country, but it has been hard. Do not get me wrong; I can understand why a person who lives in an ordinary place does not understand Venezuela. Venezuela is a country with two presidents, three congresses, two supreme courts, where people go to a party inside of the jails. Even these days, Maduro and some guys from his administration were charged in the U.S. with drug trafficking.
I usually try to explain our complicated political, economic, and social issues using the historical background. However, today, I am using a more accessible way and topic: puppies.
Of course, I have some historical background to share. Twenty years ago, Venezuela was like any other Latin American country. It had many problems, but you could have lived there. It was a kind of happy place. People did not leave Venezuela; actually, immigrants used to choose Venezuela as their new country, and they liked it.
In 1998, Venezuelans had pets like everywhere else. We used to have stray dogs and cats even though we had animal shelters for them; we did not have enough resources to keep all the animals safe. Another critical point about stray animals was in the neighborhood; people used to take care of them; they were like everybody’s pets.
What is happening with pets in Venezuela in 2020?
About five million Venezuelans have left their country for the last six years. Many of them have moved to their new destinies with their pets. This option has a happy ending.
The other part of this five million Venezuelans had to leave their pets. Yes, it can sound cruel, but when you have to walk (literarily to walk) over two thousand miles to start a new life because you have no food nor money, having a pet is a problem. They had to choose between their lives, their family’s and their pets.
There is another group, the Venezuelans who stay in their country, but they are starving. Yes, starving; for months, they have not had any food. For months, they only eat once per day or less. Many of them have to choose who is going to eat in their home that day. Kids always win; pets always lose. For this reason, they abandon their pets to their luck. Maybe these pets can find some food on the streets.
Talking about starving, there are no more stray animals on the streets. It sounds cool, right? You can think it is progress; however, the real reason why we do not have stray animals is that people are eating them. Again, it sounds cruel, but it is not. Please, just imagine that you have not eaten for days, and you have two kids. Do you have any other options?
This situation gets worse; because stray animals have disappeared, people started stealing pets. Then, when someone loses his/her dog, it means it was taken to be eaten. The same happens with the zoos.
5. The last story is even worse. Pets, specifically, dogs are being used by the government to torture political prisoners. They kidnap the pet, kill it and cut it in pieces; they film all this process to show the political prisoner who, by the way, is in jail only because he or she protested.
So, next time you think you know about Venezuela, please, think about the puppies.