Can you imagine organizing your day-to-day at the expense of power and water cuts imposed to regulate the system, fearing getting sick for not having how to afford treatment or without having money to buy food to feed your children? This is how we Venezuelans live. We have been suffering the consequences of a corrupt and inefficient political and economic model for 23 years, which has made us live in a perennial struggle to survive and to try to overcome adversity.
These two decades have only brought harm to Venezuelans. With economic destruction came unemployment, inflation, and low wages. The situation of basic services is the same or even more discouraging, hence our need to seek real solutions and to face the situation in the best way: with a meeting, consensus, protected by the Constitution. That is why we insist on using all the democratic tools that merit it to reach solutions focused on the common good and well-being. This country belongs to everyone and together we must seek solutions to the crisis.
We Venezuelans want to have a dignified life, quality public services, continuous electricity. We want to stop having to store water due to constant cuts and endless suspensions. We want and need a strong and effective national health system, where patients do not have to bring their own supplies to be treated, an issue that for many is impossible to afford. Venezuelans die daily for this reason, or for not finding a bed in overcrowded hospitals that do not have enough capacity for the population. Cases of diseases such as dengue, measles and malaria have also increased. Even eradicated diseases such as yellow fever and diphtheria have returned. We urgently need to recover our health system for the good of all.
This harsh reality, among others just as bad, has led many Venezuelans to leave the country. Millions have been practically forced to say goodbye to their families in the hope of finding a future in other lands where they do not have to live with so much poverty and injustice, without fear of getting sick or not finding enough to buy food.
All of that must change. We have to change all of that. Venezuelans deserve much more than a life of survival and adaptation to the bad. No matter how many obstacles we encounter or impose on us, we will not give up. The hope of having a better future is greater than all the difficulties that exist and we will not stop working to leave behind these misfortunes and be able to close the wound that invades us.
We have plenty of reasons to promote political change in the country. The seriousness of the social situation must be addressed as a priority and that is why it is time to reconsider a new path that benefits the people. If we really want the return of democracy in Venezuela, it is an obligation to learn from our past mistakes to rectify the course and achieve our objective. That’s what we’re doing. There are no immediate or magical solutions, there are solutions framed in democracy, in which we believe and yearn.
For our country to return to the path of development and social progress begins with an agreement that has the well-being of the population as its center. Before materializing any other equally important achievement, it is essential to minimize the pain that afflicts us so much and so that the humanitarian emergency we are suffering can end once and for all. Our social fabric is broken after so much suffering and our duty tells us that we must rebuild it through consensus and agreements with a social focus. Agreements by and for Venezuelans is the path to the real way out of the crisis.
This is the origin of the social agreement that we have just signed. We are sitting at the dialogue and negotiation table because we insist that all Venezuelans have a better life. We know first-hand the serious reality that is experienced in all corners of the country and that affects everyone equally. We know the critical state in which the hospitals are, their deficiencies, everything they lack. Very few have access to private health or have health insurance. It is useless to presume that in Venezuela there is free healthcare when even the number of beds in hospital centers is derisory in relation to the population, when not even operating rooms in good condition are sufficient.
The same goes for education. These have been years of multiple limitations for children and young people, with thousands of cases of school dropout due to necessity or hunger. This is a social agreement to rebuild our educational system, so that our children can study and enjoy opportunities. It is an agreement so that they feel that they can have a future here, in our Venezuela. It is an agreement to meet the needs of hospitals and the entire health system. We cannot allow more people to continue dying due to lack of medicines or medical supplies. It is also an agreement so that the nightmare of darkness that surrounds us when the power goes out does not happen anymore.
It is an agreement that is a triumph for all Venezuelans. It is a first agreement, with a social approach that directly benefits people and not a sector. It is the basis for our next agreement that we are already working on and that is committed to strengthening the process with an in-depth discussion of how and when we Venezuelans will decide our future in free elections, with clear rules and guarantees. That we Venezuelans find a way that is consistent with our reality and that allows us, gradually, to continue achieving other achievements for the country and for all of us, is our goal.
I have always believed and opted for the path of understanding. Political and social debate is essential for the development of any nation. The exchange of ideas and mutual recognition of all political sectors breaks with the process of actions that has condemned us to the situation in which we find ourselves right now.
Venezuela deserves politicians who put people first because that is what our work is about. Politics must have -as its sole purpose- to improve people’s living conditions, manage to build solutions to the problems that affect us as a society and, above all, be at the service of citizens. This does not mean that we are going to forget the past and start from scratch. It’s not about leaving dust and debris under the rug. It means that it is time to act together as a society to build something bigger, a solution to the emergency we are experiencing.
There is much to do. We understand the enormous work, responsibility and commitment that this entails. But the fact that this agreement has been possible encourages us to believe that the rest, what is missing, will also be possible. There has to be political will. I have it. We have it. Private agendas cannot and should not be above the welfare of all. We are under the historical and moral obligation to use all democratic and constitutional means to alter the sad reality that Venezuela is suffering. Building agreements with those who think differently, always taking into account the common good, is a necessary step to materialize that different future.
All the work we have done so far is so that we can decide the future of our nation through free elections, where we are not afraid to express ourselves. Hope for change is the flag of Venezuelans, it is the engine that drives us to continue working every day and to have the fervent conviction of achieving a prosperous Venezuela, with quality and opportunities.
I have the greatest certainty that we will leave this tragic episode behind. I am sure that the wound that overwhelms us as a nation can be healed. There will always be an opportunity to change our reality. Hope is an invaluable asset that we will never give up because we will always be willing to continue working for the country. We are going to recover our nation, to build together the country we want and to return to being a prosperous society. Let’s go together, let’s make it.