This semester I took the last Honor’s class I needed in order to fulfill my designation. The title of the course promised to be a heavy subject, but after I heard the description of the course directly from the instructor, I was convinced this would be an enjoyable class for me. In the words of my instructor, Dr. Michael Thomas, our class discussions sought to understand the “puzzling persistence of war.”
For the first paper in this class I wrote about violence in Venezuela. I had addressed one event in particular, which occurred in February of 1989, El Caracazo. I believe I have written at least one paper (or created at least one art piece) about or related to Venezuela in nearly every class I have had at UNM. Typically, I struggle to find the motivation to start and finish a paper, but when the paper is about Venezuela, I instead find myself with an excess of resources and inspiration.
The rest of my papers in this class were not really linked to Venezuela. However, as the class progressed, our discussions became increasingly relevant to the situation in my home country. Since the beginning of the month of April of 2017, Venezuela erupted in the biggest waves of protest the country has experienced in about 3 years. The government opposition led peaceful protests, which quickly turned violent due to brutal repression from the government. Meanwhile, in my honors class, we discussed difficult topics such as atrocities, and the books we read on people’s experiences of war sounded awfully similar to the news articles I’d read about Venezuela at the time.
It is difficult for me to read about what is going on in Venezuela. The protests have been going on for over a month now, and those armed with power and ammunition keep killing innocent citizens. I get feelings of helplessness by experiencing this crisis from the outside. I wish I could do more to help, but for now all I can do is prepare myself professionally during my time at UNM, as well as try to donate as much money and resources as I can through online fundraisers. I am nevertheless thankful for the Honor’s class I took, because it allowed me some time and resources to reflect on both the past and the current situation in Venezuela.
I’ll always keep my home in my thoughts (and my papers), especially in difficult times as these.