When I introduce myself to people, it usually comes up that I am from Venezuela. A fact followed by, “Oh really? Have you been recently?” and from that answer I can already tell that, unfortunately, the person is not aware of the awful circumstances happening in my beautiful home country. The majority of people are familiar with the hottest gossip, but when it comes down to real issues in the world — unless it’s a huge headliner — many people just simply are not informed.

For the past 15 years there has been an ongoing battle between the people of Venezuela and its corrupt government leaders. Yet, corruption does not even begin to describe the negative effects the government has had on the nation. Officials have taken away freedom of speech by controlling all forms of media; Venezuelan people cannot even trust television stations for news. The current government has no respect for human rights as seen by the fact that they physically and intentionally harm protesting citizens, whose rights of privacy are breached every time police invade their homes.

Justice in Venezuela is defined by the best interest of the government. Once a beautiful, safe country where tourists would experience a vivacious Latin culture, Venezuela has deteriorated, now an economically and politically corrupt regime where the locals face extreme situations.

In February 2014, thousands of college students ignited a protest against the government, inspiring hundreds of thousands who were already opposed to join the cause. The demonstrations became bloody due to the misconduct and abuse from the officials. This was shocking for a country that used to have strong democratic principles. Unfortunately, since the start of this resistance, not a lot has changed — in fact, it has gotten worse.

Not surprisingly, many people outside of Venezuela do not know about the devastation happening there every day. During the first two weeks of the outbreak, the world covered the events, but before the end of that month, the Venezuelan government took control of the press so they could mask the truth from everyone. Sadly, this is not the only government that manipulates the news to hide the facts.

In February there were cops gathered in the streets shooting BB guns at random civilians at around the same time there was a group of boys who were leaving school. They noticed a woman who was wounded and rushed to go help her. Suddenly, one of them looked up to see the cops were coming at them for assisting and so they began to sprint away while banging on doors, begging to be let in.

Unfortunately, the houses locked their doors in fear of the police injuring them as well. Finally someone opened the door, but one of the boys was not quick enough and hid behind a car. He waited there as he heard the heavy boots approaching and then suddenly he felt a cold gun to the back of his neck.

It’s a shame that the average American’s worldview does not encompass knowledge of a country that is so in need.

For many people, stories concerning extreme poverty, suffering and very powerful government forces are difficult to hear about. This is why some argue that we do need “little things” to be able to get away from the harsh realities of life.

Pop culture serves as an escape route: in a way it is equivalent to “comfort food.” Although I do not disagree that we should do little things to make a big difference.

To make a difference anywhere, people must be aware and informed about struggles around the world — more people should who know about crises than what Miley Cyrus wore at the VMA’s.

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