Tyler Burke Journal Staff
Students graduating with American degrees will likely not be returning to Venezuela in search of jobs if President Hugo Chávez is reelected. This is the consensus of Suffolk students facing the upcoming Venezuelan presidential elections, as Chávez runs to extend his 14-year reign.
President Chávez has lead Venezuela since he ran for office in the late 1990s. Mr. Chávez, a member of the United Socialist Party, believes the heart of socialism will bring strength, growth, and prosperity to Venezuela during these tough times. The up-coming elections are proving to be a challenge for the incumbent since believers in the opposition candidate have viewed him as an oppressor.
The polls are a stalemate and prediction of the elections outcome is speculative at best. Two Suffolk students who are personally affected by the elections commented on the scenario.
Paola Martinez, a sophomore studying radiation biology from Maracaibo, Venezuela, and Rene Faria, a sophomore studying economics, had impressionable comments on the election.
Martinez explained the situation with a very personal point of view. She affirmed that when Chávez was elected in 1998, they expected him to rule for only five years but it has now been over a decade. Martinez stated, “People of my generation have only known one way, Chávez’s socialist revolution.” During this revolution, the level of national security has been decreasing because Chávez has ignored critical issues to make way for his change – a change that has cost a nation its way of life.
Suffolk students from Venezuela like Martinez and Faria believe the challenger, Henrique Capriles Radonski, would bring opportunities, jobs, and pride to their country. In stark contrast to Mr. Chávez, Capriles provides a voice for those against the failed socialist revolution. Many recent grads will also be happy with a new president, as Martinez expresses her wish “to bring back the best of my American education and apply it to my country with pride.”
Faria has hopes and reservations over the “enthusiasm and anxiousness for the upcoming elections.” His views reflect squarely on what matters: the young grads searching for jobs. Faria and many Venezuelans at Suffolk support presidential candidate Capriles’ conservative views and hope the changes will bring prosperity, opportunity, safety, and better relationships with Venezuela’s neighbors. The sophomore and many others’ futures depend on the outcome. “By the results, I will decide if after I graduate I go back to Venezuela or look for jobs and opportunities in other places,” said Faria. He believes that “if Capriles wins, opportunities will open to so many.”
The Venezuelan presidential election will be held on Oct 7 to elect the president for a six-year term that will begin in February 2013.