Venezuela banned me for supporting Trump, but I still strongly support him
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I seldom write about personal stories or occurrences, but this article is one of them. The reason being is because I believe everyone should know this story, as I am sure there were similar happenings for other individuals.

I am proud to be a first generation Latino born here in the United States. Both of my parents came from Venezuela to New York for a better life. Although I do have more family throughout the United States, a majority of my family continue to live in South America, including in Venezuela.

This summer, one of my close relatives got married in Venezuela, and I was planning on attending the wedding with my family from New York. Over the past 15 years, I had visited Venezuela seven different times before the situation there got as horrible as it is now. But this time, things were very different. As of 2015, the Venezuela government implemented a visa requirement for anyone who is an American citizen. This process consisted of a long and detailed application form, many requested documents, including a formal invitation from my family in Venezuela. Knowing of this process, I completed everything and hand-delivered the required paperwork to the Venezuelan consulate in Manhattan months before I was scheduled to leave for Venezuela. I received a letter in the mail only 10 days later, stating that my visa request was denied for not fulfilling the requirements.

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It was very confusing, and hard to comprehend. Not only did I hand deliver the application and documents to the consulate, but I went through each document one by one with the employee at the consulate to make sure I had everything they needed.

 

I returned to the consulate to ask questions about why they denied my visa and what could be done. They refused to give me any answers regarding my VISA denial, and told me that I could not apply again. Not matter what I said, that was their answer.

Now just as a reminder, my parents were born in Venezuela. Both share dual citizenship with the U.S. and Venezuela, so as the son of Venezuelan citizens, there should have been no issue. After getting nowhere at the consulate in New York, I decided to head to the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, D.C.

After arriving there, I received even less information than I needed. They said they could not give a reason for why the visa was denied, even as the son of Venezuelan citizens, and with the travel date fast approaching.

I was turned back, and I had basically given up. I was discouraged, and still confused as to why they denied my visa.

About a week before I was supposed to leave, I received an international call from Caracas, the city I was supposed to visit. The women at the other end as an assistant to Delcy Rodriguez, a previous Venezuelan foreign minister and current president of the Venezuelan Constitutional Assembly, where she is in charge of rewriting the country's whole constitution.

Their office had heard that I was inquiring about my denied visa, and she had called to provide the answers I had been waiting for months for. 

She said the reason my visa was denied was because of my staunch support of President Trump, his administration and his policies. She said they had found articles, pictures and videos of my work with and for the president, and they told me that no Trump supporter is allowed in Venezuela.

I was shocked, but honestly, I wasn’t angry at all. They denied my entry to visit and celebrate with my own flesh and blood because of my political ideology and support for my own president. Because of this politically motivated move, I have no intention of ever returning or attempting to return to Venezuela, at least until the current regime is out, or until they begin to respect their own constitution and citizens.

For years under then-President Hugo Chavez, and now under Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela and its citizenry have been crumbling and suffering every single day. Once one of the richest countries in Latin America, it now stands as the poorest in the hemisphere. Venezuela is in dire crisis. As Venezuela crumbles, its regime engages in horrific abuses of power, and complete disregard of their own constitution. Their inflation rate is 741 percent. People are eating garbage because there is no food to be found, let alone bought, and the leadership actually ordered its military and police to kill its own citizens.

I stand by Trump and I strongly support the sanctions placed on the Venezuelan Supreme Court and government. Trump recognizes the problems at hand, and he knows that Maduro and his cronies need to re-establish a democratic process and to stop the suffering of their own people.

Having my visa denied only strengthened and solidified my support for President Trump and his policies. We finally have a president who has the back of the Venezuelan people and their rights, even when their own president does not.

JuanPablo Andrade is an advisor on President Trump's Hispanic Advisory Council and National Diversity Coalition and a policy advisor for America First Policies, a pro-Trump nonprofit organization.


The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.