Anti-government protesters take cover during clashes with riot police in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
LEAWOOD, KS (KCTV) -
Violence in Venezuela has left families in the U.S. worried about their loved ones.
Jose Garcia came to the U.S. from Venezuela right before he entered college. Now he owns El Porton Cafe, a successful Leawood restaurant, with his wife and children. But he is concerned for the safety of his friends and family back home.
"I'm worried about Venezuela. I'm worried about my whole people. You don't want to see the whole country going down. Look at it right now. It's pretty bad," he said.
Protests against Venezuela's socialist government and leader Nicolas Maduro have taken a violent turn in recent weeks.
Most people there have been cut off from their cell phones and internet service. Garcia's contact with parents and brothers is becoming increasingly limited.
"If we call home, we tell them what is going on, because we're watching it on the news. That is pretty sad that you can't get in touch with your loved ones and see what is going on," Garcia said.
Garcia's wife, Eva, has had a similar experience with her loved ones. One of her brothers was recently beaten and threatened. She fears things will only get worse.
"Of course we're worried. Because there's no security in Venezuela," Eva Garcia said.
The Garcias are watching from the outside as severe inflation and increasing tension continue to put people in desperate situations.
"I feel frustrated. I believe that it will be over quickly. I hope the people finally rise up soon," Eva Garcia said.
They are praying for peace and a return to a better time.
"We just got to hope and pray that everything is going to be over pretty soon. That everything is going to be like it used to be," Jose Garcia said.
The Garcias say Venezuelans are happy and peacefully people by nature, and it hurts them to watch violence threaten their loved ones.
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