Editor: Venezuela was a democracy from 1958 onwards, and during that period was one of the wealthiest countries in the world. However, corruption provided an opening to Hugo Chavez, who used it as a political issue to win office with the ideology of “21st Century Socialism.” The rest is history.
There were three main changes that occurred gradually in Venezuela that I see paralleled here.
First, the education system. Chavez completely changed the schools’ curriculum, implementing a system of indoctrination that was used by Fidel Castro in Cuba. In Loudoun County, during the pandemic parents became aware of what their kids were learning, and the school board has been making changes in the curriculum and school system in a totalitarian manner “in the name of the most vulnerable.” Indoctrination, and interfering in the relationship between students and parents and denying parental rights is wrong and parallels what occurred in Venezuela.
Secondly, the area of public security. Chavez took control of the military and police. Groups of people on motorcycles called “colectivos” were created to threaten people who dissented. In this county you don’t see them on motorcycles, but you can find them in social media groups. They target citizens who voice a different political opinion—they find their private information such as home address, name their spouse and children, and call their employers. By the way, school board members are in these groups too. Also, did you know that candidate for House of Delegates Scott Pio has had his car tires slashed multiple times? Did you know that candidate Gary Pan had his signs outside a meet and greet event destroyed and that the owners of the business hosting that event were threatened? This sort of behavior, which is becoming increasingly frequent, has received zero media coverage.
This takes me to my third point—Chavez controlled the media, leaving only one TV news channel available for the opposition. Sound familiar? The media no longer tries to dig for the truth and has taken a ridiculous level of control on people’s thinking. Only one perspective is “allowed.”
There is a way to buck this trend. On Sept. 17 we began another election season in Virginia, and I can relate to the Republican candidates. Why? Because they have an immigrant, woman of color, and Marine, who came to this country and lived the American dream, running for Lieutenant Governor— Winsome Sears. They have Jason Miyares, the son of a penniless Cuban immigrant, running for Attorney General, and Glenn Youngkin, a businessman who has not spent his whole life in politics, as candidate for Governor.
Just like the local Republican candidates for delegate, these are people like you and me, not “trained” politicians, who are running because they said no more to this nonsense. Please do your own research—don’t let anyone tell you what to think. Look at the candidates’ websites and social media, meet them in person, and I hope to see you at the polls.
Marjory Serrano-Coyer, Leesburg