Queues outside of supermarket in Venezuela.

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected]. 

I am a student who is currently perusing studies in Venezuela and would soon complete my studies, by the grace of God. I am writing this letter to inform those at home in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Service Commission, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and all other ministries as well as the public to highlight the problems and ill-treatment we as students face here.

First, I must make it clear that Venezuela, as we know, is facing hard economic times. The government of the country is no longer reliable and can’t support itself or the needs of the people. Big companies and factories have closed their doors because they can no longer afford to keep producing, as well as pharmacies, so there is no medication in the country. There is a food scarcity in the country as well as well as a scarcity of basic foodstuffs and household items. These items are toilet paper, chicken, milk, rice, peas, pasta, flour, butter, eggs, soap powder (breeze), disinfectant, bleach, dishwashing liquid, disposable diapers, sanitary pads, soap, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush, and the list goes on.

Also, the price for foodstuff and basic necessities are very expensive and we as students cannot afford these expenses. Can you imagine that we are currently receiving 1,500 bolivares a month as stipend? This money is not sufficient to provide for our needs from one month to next. The cost for a pack of rice is 235 bolivares, a bottle of drinking water 350 bolivares, a pack of peas 700 bolivares, a kilo of chicken goes for 900 bolivares and up. These prices are ridiculous; one must note that for those who are females and studying here that sanitary pad are scarce and very expensive. How are students to study in these conditions? When we can’t afford to buy basic items! I have lost count of the number of times I have went hungry with no breakfast, lunch and dinner because there was not enough money left or none at all to buy food after buying school material.

I want the government and public to know that those in charge of our wellbeing are not equipped and responsible enough. FUNDAYACUCHO, (organization in charge of all foreign students studying here), is not efficient and have not been carrying out their duties as they ought to. Students have been sick and dying (yes dying) here in Venezuela and whenever you call their officers to report a matter there’s never an answer. We would write letters and send emails highlighting our problems and never get a reply. Yet every year whenever our student visa is to expire the same FUNDAYACUCHO calls you asking you to send a copy of your old and new visa. Where were you then, FUNDAYACUCHO when we were calling, messaging and emailing you?

It is no doubt that because of situation like this that one such government has removed its students from Venezuela.

Now with regards to housing, there are various Vincentian students here in different states of Venezuela studying. Some of these students reside in Mérida, Vargas, Yaracuy and Falcón, just to name a few. The students who are living in Falcon have it the hardest, because their living conditions are not appropriate for students. They have been constantly in problems with the landlady. To my knowledge she once gave them an eviction notice because the money the government or FUNDAYACUCHO, as am told, normally send was 3 months late. She has also resorted to raising the payment of rent every six months, which would be effective from this April, to a equivalent of 4,000 bolivares. Now, it is established that if the money these students are supposed to receive results in the rent being late that they are to use their stipend they receive to pay the rent or as she told them find “ways and means” to get the money because she cannot wait. My question is, as unemployed individuals who are studying, how are these students supposed to “ways and means” to pay this rent?

This situation is a matter of concern and one that the said FUNDAYACUCHO and the ambassador of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to Venezuela as well as the Service Commission office in St. Vincent know about, yet no action have been taken. I ask the government and those in charge to please look into this matter and find a solution. I also ask the government and those responsible for the students here to check on the wellbeing of your citizens, and not to go on the media and boast about how many scholarships you have given away and how many have returned home with degrees in this and that field. There’s a lot more to be said and more to be uncovered, so I will write again soon to expose the ugly truth about the situation here and how we as students are living.

Finally, I urge all citizens of St. Vincent and the Grenadines who are contemplating on coming to Venezuela to study to please dismiss this idea, the economic hardship of the country is one that keeps getting worse and students here are fed up and ready to come home.

Disgruntled student

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

5 replies on “Vincy students meeting it rough in Venezuela”

  1. C. ben-David says:

    So, why the hell don’t you pack your grip and come home? If the credits you already have are recognized, you can use them to gain access to a comparable level of studies in most other colleges and universities all around the world. If they are not recognized, then you have wasted your time. In either case, you should come home before you are caught in the bloody coup that is on the horizon.

    Tell me who you are and I promise to send you some money to help pay your passage back.

  2. The SVG Government should be putting out a travel warning about Venezuela.

    Its unsafe to walk anywhere even during daylight.

    Its unsafe to sail there at anytime because of piracy and banditry.

    There are outbreaks of serious stomach illness everywhere, food poisoning.

    Because there are no vaccines locals are at risk of polio, measles, and most other diseases eradicated or under control elsewhere.

    Our students lives are at risk from attack and disease, bring them home and stop others from going there.

    I love Caracas but people are at risk from street robbers and muggers.

    My advice is stay away for the time being.

  3. Venezuela to stop buying loyalties with oil revenues:
    New Democratic thinking Venezuelan Government to stop giving away money through PetroCaribe
    http://www.eluniversal.com/noticias/daily-news/deputy-davila-cannot-keep-buying-loyalties-with-oil-revenues_247545

    200 Kidnappings every day in Venezuela:
    The illegal activity involving kidnapping has turned into one of the main income sources of criminal organizations in Venezuela.
    According to unofficial figures, 120 people nowadays remain kidnapped nationwide while an average of 200 “express kidnaps” per day take place in the country’s major cities.
    Security experts claim that the increase in abductions is directly related to the creation of the so-called “peace zones” where armed gangs have settled and managed to control over large slum areas. Due the lack of security bodies in these areas, such gangs may hold their victims hostage while completing negotiations
    http://www.eluniversal.com/noticias/daily-news/experts-report-kidnapping-rise-far-this-year-venezuela_247489

    Poverty Now Running at 80% in Venezuela:
    The Chief Executive Director of the Chamber of Trade, Industry and Services of Caracas, Víctor Maldonado, regretted on Friday that impoverishment in the country “is dreadful, and the worst is that this situation is not to be solved all of a sudden. No miracles are possible and this government is responsible for the crisis” that “they themselves created.”
    http://www.eluniversal.com/noticias/daily-news/chamber-commerce-venezuelans-are-poverty_247647

  4. The timing of this disgruntled student’s letter is oh so predictable, so predictable, that it leaves one in doubt about its authenticity. This comes on the heels of the farmers support 4.5 million Venezuela grant and the Ambassadors recent speech, and the “Speaking about Venezuela: In SVG we know who our friends are” article. On the other hand no corresponding proof of any countries ‘students at risk facing hard times’ submitted in this letter exists, and accordingly no proof exist where any Caribbean country pulled out its students studying in Venezuela. This is nothing more than a shoddy propaganda letter orchestrated by an undignified person or persons.Two individuals come to mind.

  5. Dear Writer,

    i shall be noted well that the Government does not care about anyone outside it’s realm. i have been always saying that the Vincentian public doesnt have a unified spirit. take for instance America, they go anywhere for their citizens, hell and back. the Government of SVG should be the first one to take stance and pull these students out of delapidated housing, stagflated economy of Venezuela. i am not writing from a political view, i am deeply concerned about the state in which our students are living there in.

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