Although this applies to school, I’m actually referring to a different kind of participation. Citizen participation.
During the first week of July, the people of Venezuela began planning a plebiscite, which is kind of like a referendum. I say kind of because the term “voting” is not an appropriate legal term for a plebiscite (at least that’s what I know from Venezuelan politics). A plebiscite is more of a posed question (or several questions), in which citizens cast their opinion on a certain topic. However, whatever opinion the people take does have some sort of significance that could be applied in future electoral processes.
I’m not a lawyer, this is just what I’ve kinda-sorta understood from reading on it.
So the interesting part of this plebiscite is that anyone could voice their opinion, regardless of whether they were inside or outside of Venezuela (even if they were on vacation or permanently living outside of the country). So what did this mean for me? I could cast my “vote” (opinion) on an organized, democratic event led by the Venezuelan people, while living in the US!
The conditions of the plebiscite established that any group, anywhere in the world, could set up a voting center by contacting the committee in charge of organizing the plebiscite. Unlike larger elections, voting centers did not have to be inside a city with a Venezuelan Consulate. Furthermore, participants did not have to register at a specific center. You could just show up at any voting center, anywhere, and participate! Even Albuquerque had its very own voting center! And by the way, a total of 138 Venezuelans participated in that center! How many Venezuelans have you met that live in NM? I never imagined we could be that many in this state.
Funny thing is I wasn’t in Albuquerque at the time. I was actually in the lovely city of Boston. I was working with a group of CS students at a robotics conference (and that’s a different story for later). The best part was that I was able to finish my duties at the conference/workshop I was working on, just in time to make my way to Boston’s voting center at Copley Square!
Lines at the voting center in Copley Square. Right across from the Boston Public Library!

Lines at the voting center in Copley Square. Right across from the Boston Public Library!

It felt a bit strange to be participating in such an event from afar (both far from my current home and my previous home), but I was happy to be able to contribute as much as I could! In the end, the referendum boasted of over 7 million participants! Let me remind you that this event was organized within the span of two weeks, through (mostly) word of mouth and social media.
I am hoping we can continue to experience more positive actions towards the prosperity of my home country. For now I’ll keep on sharing my experiences, and sharing information on the Venezuelan crisis. By the way, the end of this month will mark the 4th month in a row of protests in Venezuela. There have been over 100 days of protests.
Lobos, have you ever felt excited about participating in local politics? Are there any (worldwide) news that keep you thinking? Let me know!