Oklahoma Families Worry About Loved Ones In Venezuela

Friday, February 1st 2019, 6:19 pm
By: Karl Torp

Venezuela has been a state of uncertainty since Juan Guaido, the leader of the democratically elected national assembly, declared himself interim president.

The move goes against current Leader Nicolas Maduro.

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Twenty-eight hundred miles away, Oklahomans want to show their support for the interm President.

Julio and Maria Rios who live in Norman left Venezuela in 2000.

However, a heartbreaking reminder of the country's dysfunction and dangers struck in 2017, when Julio's father was kidnapped in Venezuela.

“It’s unthinkable,” says Julio Rios.

Two weeks later, Julio's father was found dead.

The family fears any of their several family members still living in Venezuela could suffer the same fate.

“You can get kidnapped and you can get assaulted, and you can get killed in the day or night without reason,” says Julio.

The couple blames the corrupt governments of Hugo Chavez and now President Nicolas Maduro for ruining a country they still hold dear.

“The country that in this moment is Venezuela, is not the country that's in my heart, in my memory,” says Maria Rios.

The Rios family has organized a show of support for Interim President Guaido, who has the backing of the White House and many other countries.

Through their Facebook page “SOS Venezuela Oklahoma” they ask for people to join them for a rally Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at Wiley Post Park.

The family has demonstrated and written letters to U.S. lawmakers since moving to the U.S. 18 years ago.

They are thankful to the country that gave them a new hope and a new life, but Venezuela will always feel close.

“I will fight for both of them,” says Maria.