MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — The demonstrations against the violence in Venezuela continued Saturday in South Florida.

Young Venezuelans joined other young adults from Latin America in front of Miami City hall to express their solidarity with the students in Venezuela.

“I am 19 years old and I’m crying because it’s my country. I love my country. I just got here two years ago,” explained Michelle Parra.  Parra’s father and much of her family still live in Venezuela where she says they face food shortages, and violence.  Communication is often difficult and she  fears for their safety as she watches from afar.

“I’m really touched by what I see in the news, what I hear from my dad. It’s really heartbroken it’s really sad,” she said.

Eighteen people have died in what began as a student protest earlier in February that has grown to include the mostly middle class opposition in Venezuela. The protesters are upset with economic shortages and the heavy-handed response of the government to the demonstrations.

“I have a lot of friends who are part of the student movement there now and I’ve seen first-hand what has happened to them. They’ve been detained they’ve been tortured how they’ve come out many with broken arms broken noses all kinds of injuries,” said Mario Di Giovanni, s who moved to South Florida from Venezuela three years ago.

Miguel Pena added, “It’s very tense. People want to go outside.  People want to make their voices heard, but a lot of people are afraid.”

Still, those with family in Venezuela say there is an atmosphere of hope despite the violence.

“I think there’s that strength or that faith if we keep on going we’re going to achieve the Venezuela we want. We’re going to get a better future for our country,” said Di Giovanni.


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