This article was translated by John R. Bopp
After a lot of reflection, we’re writing about this matter which is worrying us more and more: the situation of the Basque community in Venezuela. Watching thousands and thousands of Venezuelans walking towards neighboring countries, and hearing the descriptions from Basque-Venezuelan friends about the extremely rough times they’re living, especially older people, inspired us to do it.
We’re not going to get into politics. We do not want to “preach” about the possible causes that have brought these rough times for the vast majority of Venezuelans about, because the problems are not Venezuela’s, but rather of those who live there.
In that sister country, thousands and thousands of Basques took refuge after the Civil War. They were Basques who had lost everything, who had left everything behind, persecuted by a fascist, criminal régime. Today, those who arrived there as children are now seniors who are dying in a new misery. Their children, the grandchildren of the immigrants, are barely surviving in a situation of extreme need.
The Basques of the Autonomous Community and Navarre have the means for solidarity, within and without. We help our compatriots here, those who come and need it, or those who are living situations of extreme need in areas of conflict, natural disaster, or famine. We Basques around the world put the wheels of support in motion when necessary. We’ve spoken about this before.
Public and private institutions get involved, with the money of the Basques, in these actions of solidarity that we, as Basques, are proud of. We do not see these actions as an option, but rather as an obligation as human beings, as members of an engaged society.
We wonder. Couldn’t our institutions create mechanisms to help those Basques in need outside our immediate borders? In the case of Venezuela, this need is a cry that is being heard around the world. The exodus of tens of thousands of Venezuelans who are leaving everything behind is no different to what is happening in other parts of the world, nor any real, practical difference with what exiled Basques when through in the 1930s and 1940s.
Basques from around the world were key in keeping the institutions of our country alive in the darkest hours of the dictatorship. And a good part of that, especially in countries like Venezuela, is made up, as we said before, of families who lost it all eighty years ago, and who are now going through the same thing again.
Our institutions have means which are already applied to Basques abroad who are in situations of dire need, amounts of money that given the situation we’re talking about, and compared to the resources we send to other solidarity actions abroad and at home, feel insufficient, and no only for the Venezuelan case.
We’ve always defended that our country is made up of Basques who live in all different parts of the world, and now is the time to prove it. We understand that the application of some means of aid of this type can’t just happen. But we believe that the urgency and extreme situation call for exceptional means of solidarity. And we already have the Basque Centers abroad to get it in motion.