Interview with Giannina Raffo, a Young Venezuelan Activist

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We’ve all been keeping a close eye on the latest protests in Venezuela. What began as peaceful student protests, soon developed into violence, with two young students being shot. In the days that followed, there have been even more casualties. The emotion and determination of the Venezuelan people has spiked as a result, and we all can only cross our fingers and hope not only that this will be resolved quickly, but that the result is freedom.

Protests aren’t necessarily an uncommon occurrence in the world today, but not all protests are the same. Some push for freedom, whilst others agitate for more government control. Also, some may involve just a small group of people, with little chance of affecting the establishment, whilst others have the potential to really change their country’s futures.

Giannina Raffo

Giannina Raffo

It seems quite apparent from photographs of the protests that this is no minor uprising, but to find out for myself what the people on the streets are really fighting for I had to speak with someone on the ground. Giannina Raffo, a young freedom fighter, who currently works for the Centre for the Dissemination of Economic Knowledge (CEDICE) in Venezuela has herself been a part of some the latest protests and was able to give me the real scoop.

In this interview Giannina discusses the motivations behind the protests, from Venezuela’s terrifying levels of crime in recent years to the beginnings of its complete economic ruin, she is confident that this time it’s different. This time the people are united in the fight for freedom.

People have gained strength from protests in the Ukraine, the Middle East and elsewhere:

Nobody had to go to those countries to fight for them, the people themselves fought for their freedom. That, for Venezuela is inspiring. Inspired by Ukraine, Libya, and Egypt, they think “Oh my god! Governments are not forever!”

Marked arms at supermarkets in Venezuela

They are also at a point where they have nothing left to lose. Between currency controls, hyperinflation, price caps, and shortages, no one can be indifferent to the country’s troubles. Beyond government theft, there is also government humiliation as customers at grocery stores have their arms marked by officials as a means of controlling their purchases.

Giannina is fighting in the streets as well as at home, helping to find missing protesters who have been imprisoned and to help connect them with free legal assistance and medical support. Hear more about what’s really happening on the ground in Venezuela, by listening to the interview here:

You can follow her on Twitter: @Gianninaraffo

Kenli Schoolland

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