Manchester University
Oak Leaves

 November 4, 2016

Dr. Yañez 'Cares' For Venezuela

Zoe Vorndran

Dr. Arturo Yañez, professor of Spanish, who once crossed the Caribbean Ocean to teach in North America, now sends packages containing essential provisions back across that ocean to his family in Venezuela, now an economically and socially suffering country.

After a fruitful career of being a professor in Venezuela, Yañez moved to the United States to seek a better life for him and his children. “There is no perfect country in the world,” Yañez said. “Every country has its pluses and minuses, but living here is way much better than the option that we had, and the options we have these days in Venezuela.”

Venezuela, located in the northern region of Southern America, collapsed into communism under the leadership of Nicolás Maduro. Originally, the goals for the country were to solve its ongoing issues by incorporating a mixture of a democratic and socialist government. However, under the influence of Cuban Castro brothers, Venezuela became a vehicle for communism, which resulted in what Yañez calls “complete failure.” Due to massive devaluation of currency and high inflation rates, Venezuela has become immersed in deeper economic problems, with devastating effects. “We went from rich to poor in very few years,” Yañez said.

In response, Yañez and his wife carefully sent boxes of food, clothing and other necessities to his family members and friends, with the hope that they will share with others in need. “I have nine brothers and sisters in Venezuela and they are going through difficult times just to get food and medications,” Yañez said. “So they were excited and thankful. At first I was concerned whether the boxes were going to reach the final destination because the government does not want international help. But they made it. Now that I know the boxes really get there, I am going to continue sending a couple of boxes.” He and his wife, among others trying to help Venezuela, travel to Orlando, Fla., and ship their boxes from there.

Although Yañez sends help with an open heart, there are visible tears of sadness as he ships provisions to his country. “There’s a mixture of different feelings because this is something you should not be doing because Venezuela was a rich country,” Yañez said. “It is sad to have to send toothpaste, toilet paper and basic things. It’s hard to see Venezuelans in such poor conditions.”

Yañez hopes that the issues and crises ensuing Venezuela will reach people by word of mouth. In his Spanish classes, he shares stories and news about his country. He also discusses the situation with friends and shows powerful images of the destruction Venezuela has faced, hoping to raise money to buy supplies and necessities for his care packages. 

Yañez asks for prayers and constant thoughts for his country. “If people pray for all the people around the world, it’ll help a lot,” he said. “I believe that prayer is a powerful tool.” He also urges everyone to not throw away their food in consideration of other countries that do not have food. “We feel like it’s something we will have forever, but now I have my doubts because I thought the same about Venezuela,” Yañez said. “I thought what is happening to Cuba will never happen to Venezuela, and then overnight, we had a really bad change. We never know what is going to happen. It was an eye opener.”

The only solution Yañez thinks will help Venezuela is trying a different government. “What we have oppresses people and that is not a solution.”