MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Students at Florida International University’s South campus staged an organized and peaceful rally Friday morning to call attention to what they say is unjust treatment of people in Venezuela.
“We’re here right now in support of our people in Venezuela,” said FIU student Rosangel Espinoza. “We’re far, but we’re not absent and we want to tell them from far away that they’re not alone.”
About 150 students showed up carrying signs with messages of hope. FIU President Mark Rosenberg said it was one of the largest rallies of its kind at the school.
“What brings us here is the rejection of a model that plainly doesn’t work,” said Rosenberg. “ What brings us here is the fact that we do not accept dictatorship as a means of governance. What brings us here is our passion for the hopes and aspiration of our students.”
In the Capital city of Caracas, tension continues to mount as the death toll has now climbed to 20 after nearly a month of demonstrations on the streets.
“I personally feel it’s unjust how the government is treating the citizens of Venezuela and I think it’s important to raise the awareness of what’s happening in Venezuela,” said Dalny Ruel an FIU student on her lunch break.
For weeks, demonstrators have staged rallies and set up barricades in the streets demanding the resignation of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, leading to clashes with security forces and government supporters.
“We’re gathered here because our Venezuelan brothers and sisters are engaged in a critical battle for freedom and democracy against a brutal dictator and enemy,” said U.S. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen who helped host the rally.
Thursday, a Venezuelan soldier and another man in his twenties on a motorcycle were the latest casualties when they were shot and killed after tear gas was unloaded in to the streets to disperse the crowd where hundreds were gathered.