Photo: Versión Final

Last year was a watershed year, and not for the better: the coup against the National Assembly, the heartwrenching protests, the impetus of the July 16 opposition referendum and then the downfall. The opposition lost momentum, unable to stop the National Constituent Assembly (ANC) and, blindsided by a new level of government deception to win the upcoming elections, abstention by the majority of opposition voters solidified today’s scenario.

And that’s only from a political standpoint.

After everything that has happened in the last five years, and now that the fight has moved on from electoral grounds, the opposition has been at a loss for strategy. Divided in multiple factions, there is little in common between them, except opposing the government. So, how can we have any hope for change, when there’s no faith in our leaders? When they can’t even get their act together long enough to agree on a single front?

I wondered what the “young” politicians thought of the current situation, those who came of age under this government.

If there’s any hope for Venezuela in the future, it will not only hinge on a change of government and the actions that will take us there, but on those who take the lead in the reconstruction of the country. They say there are two types of politicians: those who are in it for personal benefit and those who are in it to serve. Without a doubt, this opposition is plagued with a lot of politicians who fit the former definition, but I want to believe that there are enough of the latter so that eventually we’ll have leadership to guide us out of this crisis.

With that in mind, I wondered what the “young” politicians thought of the current situation, those who came of age under this government. Faced with an opposition that is in a sort of deer-in-headlights condition, how does their work deal with the current state of affairs?

I got the chance to interview six young politicians to assess not only their opinions, but what they are working on, how they would face certain situations and their ambitions. They play a part in the strategy-making at different levels within their parties and the opposition coalition. Refreshingly, they don’t pretend to have an immediate formula that will cause the regime to crumble and, although they’re from different parties and ideologies, what unifies them is an unfaltering vocation to serve, and the conviction to keep working in the face of adversity. They are not waiting for a change of government to come from outside the borders, although they believe international pressure has been helpful; this group of young politicians is getting ready to govern, looking for solutions to what ails Venezuela beyond the present government.

I got the chance to interview six young politicians to assess not only their opinions, but what they are working on, how they would face certain situations and their ambitions.

Juan Andrés Mejía is inclined towards local politics, specifically in Caracas, looking for solutions to make his city a more agreeable place; José Manuel Olivares is a doctor who takes the Hippocratic oath to his role as a politician; Marialbert Barrios is working with the grassroots of her community, but hopes to contribute from her field, which is international relations; Stalin González concentrates on strengthening the role of parties by training and organizing their militants, especially in rural areas; Juan Requesens focuses on his role as a member of the Interior Politics Committee, centered on the humanitarian crisis at the border; and Miguel Pizarro works on creating cohesion for a strategy that will connect and organize dissent while working on training local representatives to become well-rounded leaders of their communities.

I don’t know when and if Venezuela will have a democratic government once again, but I know there are young men and women, not only in politics, who are ready to lead that new chapter. These young politicians are aware of the challenges ahead, and are working hard to make sure we get there someday, so stay tuned these coming weeks to learn more about them.

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