AUM student opens up about crisis at home in Venezuela

Published: Jun. 21, 2016 at 10:14 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 21, 2016 at 10:39 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Paula Diaz is going into her senior year at Auburn University at Montgomery. She is on AUM's tennis team, studying broadcast journalism and hopes to one day be a television news anchor.

When she is not training on the tennis court, attending her summer classes or working a summer internship at WSFA 12 News, she makes sure to make time to FaceTime with her family at least once a day.

"I have to talk to them every day," Diaz said. "I just have to make that contact with what is going on."

The slew of crises in Venezuela have been ongoing and do not seem to be stopping.

"Every time I go home, it's worse," Diaz said. "It's been going so badly for a really long time."

Civil unrest, soaring inflation rates and scarcity in the most basic food and lifestyle products plague the country.

"My parents are both eye doctors," Diaz said. "We are well-off, but now that does not really matter so much. If you want to buy something from the store, you have to stand in really long lines. Then, when you go to pay, you have to show your ID number. If your ID number is a right one for that day, you can buy the product. If not, you can't."

Diaz said it is not fair that her quality of life in Montgomery at AUM is so much better than her parents' because they are the ones who fund her lifestyle.
"It's so hard, but I know they are proud of me," Diaz said. "They are proud of my tennis and my education. They know my life is so much better here. I have so many more opportunities."

Diaz said she feels the impact of her parents' situation the most when she video chats with them while she is grocery shopping at Walmart. She said they marvel about how many options of products she has while she is shopping because their options are so limited.

She said she uses this hardship to push her to work hard, and she hopes to one day be able to help them leave Venezuela and move to the U.S.

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