It's rarely quiet here. Sometimes in the middle of the night it's quiet, but other than that, there's always something going on. People dropping trash down the trash chute. Traffic, horns, people talking or moving around, there's always something. But this morning it was quiet. A little eerily quiet. I suppose the quiet is better than the noise.
Last night was uneventful. Yes, there were people in the street. I believe they were standing there "on guard" but not to cause trouble. Perhaps last night everyone was just exhausted from the sheer ridiculousness of the day. You see, the 4:00 am thing went on for most of the day. It's hard to even know when it stopped because it was so inconsistent. My guess is that the national guard either backed down or left all together. We don't know though.
We can fill you in on what happened yesterday, but let me first say that we did not feel like we were in danger during any of this. Yes, it could've escalated, but it would've had to escalate a lot for us to feel like we were in danger. We could watch a lot of what was going on, but we're far enough away from the street and there's enough security within our apartment complex that we have not lived in fear during this whole process (although there for sure have been moments outside of our complex).
Our neighborhood has taken a stance. Many of the men (and some women) are fed up and have decided to "take" our street. For the most part it has consisted of creating barricades (sometimes they're burning) and the presence of people. Yesterday the national guard tried to remove the barricades and it turned into chaos. What happened is that the people on our street are shooting fireworks at the national guard, throwing rocks, sometimes there were molotov cocktails or something similar.
The national guard responded with tear gas and sometimes even throwing rocks back at the protestors. In the midst of this, the people on the street are trying to throw that tear gas back at the national guard and keep them from advancing. At a couple of points, the armored vehicle came through shooting knee knockers, to which everyone would retreat into their apartment complexes. Shortly after that, everyone would come back out. The armored car only drove through twice so the majority of the day consisted of fireworks and tear gas. That's how we would always know when something was happening.
At this point, we're having a lot of conversations with people in the States regarding what our next steps are. We want to be wise about leaving. Obviously it wouldn't be wise to leave in the middle of that because there would be no where to go but into that mess. But we also want to see if this will die down. It's really hard to know. We're hopeful, but very hesitant. We've been packing suitcases in case we do have to leave. There doesn't seem to be a right or wrong decision at this point, mostly because we know we have what we need and we are safe in our apartments.
Would you pray for our emotional health? At this point, it's become emotionally draining living in this state. Would you pray for the Venezuelans who have no alternative but to stay? We may have the option of leaving this country, but most of them do not. This is their life and they didn't ask for any of this, even if they feel one way or another. Through all of this, we are very grateful for your prayers and support. They very much mean the world to us.