Celebration toast

A Toast to the Venezuelans We Don't See

Venezuelans wake up and work impossibly hard to make a better future. I see them every day, I thank them every day. What if we took the time to notice them, too?

I like to thank people. I make a point of thanking everyone, from the shop owner in my building who sells me fruit, to the bus driver who takes me from Guarenas to Caracas; from the lady who takes my order at a restaurant, to the security guard who holds the elevator’s door for me in a building. And in my experience, I’m not the only one at all.

Although we Venezuelans have a certain inclination to think poorly of one another, I still consistently meet people who treat others kindly and respectfully and who are willing to help, to give up their seat on the Metro. Hundreds of thousands in this country are ready to offer quality service and attention, to contribute to society with efficiency and effort. People who refuse give into the death spiral of mediocrity, despair, fear and violence.

So I propose a toast!

Here’s to professionals who won’t sell themselves short despite mounting obstacles; to artists who become better at their craft the higher the stakes become; to activists who work tirelessly to shield our civil liberties and denounce our oppressors; to fearless journalists who continue to report the truth in the face of official harassment and persecution; to public servants who keep aiming for efficiency inside the government’s corrupt apparatus; to men and women of all sectors of society who believe in hard work and merit.

Here’s to friends, both here and abroad, who support each other through the distance; to families who hold united and protective of their core values amidst hardship. Here’s to those who care, who understand that dignity and principles are a necessity in our country; to the kind strangers out there, who know that playing their own small part everyday to keep Venezuela afloat, is a form of resisting crime and indecency. A big shout of thanks to you! As long as you keep at it, not even this regime can truly doom this nation.